Petition to make Britain’s colonial past part of the curriculum gathers thousands of signatures in Redbridge

Almost 2,500 people across Redbridge have signed a petition to make Britain's colonial past part of

Almost 2,500 people across Redbridge have signed a petition to make Britain's colonial past part of the curriculum. - Credit: PA

Thousands of people in Redbridge have signed a petition calling for Britain’s colonial history to become part of the school curriculum.

A group of sixth form students say the government is denying their generation the tools to “dismantle systemic racism” by not teaching about the Empire in schools.

As of 9am on Friday (June 19), 2,487 people in Redbridge’s four constituencies had signed a petition calling for MPs to change the curriculum.

The petition on Parliament’s website, created by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson, has amassed 240,000 signatures in its first week, meaning it will be considered for a debate in Westminster.

The petition wants the government to create a “far more inclusive curriculum” by making education compulsory on topics such as Britain’s role in colonisation and the transatlantic slave trade.

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It reads: “By educating on the events of the past, we can forge a better future.

“Colonial powers must own up to their pasts by raising awareness of the forced labour of black people, past and present mistreatment of BAME people, and most importantly, how this contributes to the unfair systems of power at the foundation of our modern society.”

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Cllr Anita Boateng (Bridge), the only black councillor in Redbridge, supported the petition and said: “There is a strong case for doing more to ensure the uncomfortable parts of British history are studied and remembered, as part of our broad curriculum.”

The leader of the Redbridge Conservative Group Linda Huggett said she is pleased to see so many people engaging in this debate.

She said: “Whether it’s Black History Month or black historical figures, it is vital that Redbridge Council does more to educate the borough and support teachers in educating young people about colonialism and all aspects of our nation’s past.

“By educating our children on the events of the past we can forge a better future.”

Almost 1,000 people signed the petition from Leyton and Wanstead.

There were around 500 signatures each from both Ilford North and Ilford and 578 from Chingford and Woodford Green.

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