Kids to Get Lessons on What It Means to Be British; SCHOOLS TO TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT BRITAIN'S SLAVE HISTORY

Article excerpt

Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

MODERN British history is to be restored to the compulsory curriculum for schools as part of moves to teach all children the values of "Britishness".

Citizenship lessons, which all 14 to 16-year-olds have to attend, will cover the origins of modern Britain - including slavery, post-war immigration and the recent colonial past - under a shake-up ordered by Education Secretary Alan Johnson.

A review of citizenship conducted by Sir Keith Ajegbo, former headteacher of Deptford Green School, has concluded that unless children of all ethnicities, including whites, are taught how Britain was formed, then segregation will get worse.

The report was published by Mr Johnson today. He said Britain was a nation built from and by people from other countries.

"Schools should play a leading role in creating greater community cohesion and combating ignorance of other countries, religions and cultures,"he said.

"By 2010 one in five pupils in our schools will be from an ethnic minority.

This is a challenge but also an opportunity to instill a culture of understanding and tolerance at an early age."

The report said that in one class, a white pupil who heard that other classmates originally came from Portugal, Trinidad and Poland, said that she "came from nowhere". …

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