Students and Deputy Mayor Bramble

More than 500 schools across the UK have signed up for Hackney’s Diverse Curriculum in just one month.

 “Hackney’s Diverse Curriculum – the Black Contribution” was developed by local teachers and Hackney Council. It consists of a nine-week lesson plan for early years to KS3 and 4 students, aiming to further the teaching of Black history in Hackney and the UK.

 The council delivered the lesson packs free to all Hackney schools in October, coinciding with Black History Month. These resources are also available to teachers around the UK.

Director of Education Annie Gammon said: “This is an important step in our ongoing journey to make sure we understand each other and educate out racism and bias.”

Hackney Council announced last week that over 500 schools across the UK have joined forces with the council to diversify the school curriculum.

Nearly 400 schools signed up in the first week alone, with about 200 schools in London now using the curriculum.

Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education, said so many schools having taken up their curriculum proved both a desire, and a thirst for that vital education.

 “These packs will help teachers deliver the message that Black history is British history and will ensure students from an early age understand and appreciate the diversity of our country.”

 The curriculum features over 50 modules, including;  When I Grow Up (for pupils aged five and under), The Windrush Generation, Activism, Untold Stories, British Identity, Diversity in Science, and Windrush Past and Present.

The modules teach students Black stories across the ages from the arrival of Windrush to the significance of the British Empire’s rule. Additionally artefacts from Hackney’s Museum and Archive help to bring stories of migration and the origins of Black culture to life.

The early years curriculum provides children with “We are All Different” discussion cards. These prompt pupils to talk about the colour of their hair and skin and discuss their likes and dislikes and similarities and differences. 

The cards contain thought-provoking questions. For example, “How would you feel if someone didn’t want to play with you because they said they were different to you?”

We are All Different discussion cards for the early years. Image: Hackney Council

Lady’s Catholic school in Hackney was one of the first schools to try a lesson exploring ancient Afro-Romans history in Britain.

 Headteacher Justine McDonald said on the Hackney Council website: “I want all of our students to know they belong, to have a strong sense of identity, of cultural heritage and to understand themselves and others.”

 She continued: “I want them to have the tools to be confident about who they are and how they can contribute to our society and communities.”

Teachers and educators have appreciated the curriculum on twitter.



However there has also been pushback against diversifying the curriculum. Amanda Spielman, the Chief inspector of schools in England, has warned against changing the national curriculum based on a single issue or purpose according to The Guardian.

She said at the launch of Ofsted’s annual report: “The curriculum is there to serve many purposes, one of which is to make children feel represented, but there are so many others.”

Hackney Council sent a Black history poster map to all its schools and residents last month in addition to the lesson packs. The map illustrates Hackney’s rich African and Caribbean history, pinpointing the borough’s local Black landmarks and legacies.

Black history poster map

The map shows the Hackney’s Black landmarks and legacies. Image: Hackney Council