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Hainault school launches campaign to reform national curriculum

PUBLISHED: 14:42 14 March 2016 | UPDATED: 14:42 14 March 2016

Students from The Forest Academy launched the Curriculum Campaign on World BookDay last week. Credit: Geoff Wilson

Students from The Forest Academy launched the Curriculum Campaign on World BookDay last week. Credit: Geoff Wilson

Geoff Wilson

This World Book Day, one school decided to launch a campaign demanding more diversity from the national curriculum.

Pupils and teachers at The Forest Academy, Harbourer Road, Hainault, created the Curriculum Campaign after noticing a distinct lack of female and ethnic minority authors after changes were made to the national curriculum in September 2015.

Students and staff have been involved with every aspect of the campaign, from designing the logo to petitioning the government to make a positive change.

AS-level student Lascell Taylor said: “Now more than ever, I wholeheartedly believe schools must welcome, encourage and promote a wide range of cultures into the curriculum regardless of the subject studied.

“It is a necessity not just for our generation but for those to come, if we are serious about challenging cultural, racial and gender ignorance.”

Redbridge’s Beal High School, the Association of School and College Leaders and Woodford Country High School for Girls are also backing the campaign, and MP for Ilford North Wes Streeting attended the launch last week.

So far, the campaign’s petition, which is addressed to Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan, has gained more than 1,000 signatures.

The school’s English teachers were some of the first to realise the imbalance on display, noting that just 31 per cent of texts across AQA, Edexcel and OCR’s GCSE and A-level English literature reading lists were by female authors.

English teacher at the school, Olivia Eaton, said: “My students come from a range of backgrounds and it’s crucial that they are able to enjoy and relate to what they are reading.

“It’s important they’re able to recognise themselves and their heritage in some of the text’s they study, and that they’re exposed to a variety of authors and backgrounds to gain a better understanding of the society they live in.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “As part of this Government’s commitment to social justice we want every child to be able to read widely and read well – that includes texts from both female and male authors.

“Female authors have played a key role in shaping modern day literature and it is absolutely right that pupils should learn about both classic and contemporary literature from a diverse range of authors.”

For more information, or to sign the campaign’s petition, visit curriculumcampaign.com


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