New materials launched to help teach Black history

Professor David Olusoga helped develop iChild’s Black history strand, launched as only 12% of teachers say they feel empowered to teach ‘optional’ Black-related topics

Today (28 September) sees the launch of a wealth of materials designed to support teaching related to October’s Black History Month, and beyond.

iChild reports that it developed the Captivating Classrooms strand in response to teachers’ requests for help, with research by YouGov finding that barely one in 10 (12%) of teachers feel empowered to teach ‘optional’ Black-related topics.

The need to redress an educational imbalance was made stark in a survey by Impact of Omission. It found that only 8% of people reported ever having lessons on the colonisation of Africa in schools, while only 10% learned about the role of slavery in the British Industrial Revolution. By contrast, the Tudors and the Great Fire of London had been studied by 86% and 73% respectively.

Thus, the intention for the Captivating Classrooms materials to help all students feel a sense of belonging and identity, and to focus on Black history as an integral part of the story of Britain, not simply as a topic to cross off at the end of every October.

Among the impactful historical figures included in the resources are Mary Seacole, the British-Jamaican nurse and businesswoman who set up the ‘British Hotel’ behind the lines during the Crimean War, and John Blanke, the earliest named African person in England, who served as a trumpeter in the court of King Henry VII.

Read more: White working-class and Black students risk losing out from focus on A-levels instead of vocational courses – Social Market Foundation

Other topics covered include dispelling the myth that the arrival of Black people in the UK began after World War Two, and instead has been evidenced since Roman times.

Lesson materials come in a wide range of key stage-appropriateness, and take the form of editable PowerPoint presentations, teacher notes to support lesson planning, worksheets, keyword flashcards, and A4 posters for learning walls.

They were developed by iChild in partnership with the historian and broadcaster, Professor David Olusoga, and his sister, Dr Yinka Olusoga, a lecturer in education at the University of Sheffield.

“Many teachers have requested resources to help teach Black British history in schools, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with iChild and my sister Yinka to do exactly that,” said Prof Olusoga.

“Black history is a vital part of British history and so it is an important part of the history curriculum. This history helps us connect and understand Great Britain today.”

For more information on Captivating Classrooms, and to find out how your school can access them, visit:

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