IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE academic provides evidence to parliamentary committees on cultural diversity in the curriculum

21 November 2020

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) academic Dr Christine Callender has provided evidence to the House of Commons Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Select Committee on Black history and cultural diversity in the curriculum.

Christine Callender

This was the second joint evidence session, with the first having been attended by petitioners and representatives from organisations including The Black Curriculum and the National Education Union (NEU).

This session looked at teacher training, recruitment, and resources available to teachers for teaching about equality and diversity.

The panel covered the national curriculum and whether schools had the flexibility to teach Black history and cultural diversity within the curriculum. The panellists noted that while there is some flexibility, the teaching of Black history as well as equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) should not be approached in a way that is ad hoc, and there should be more focus on EDI beyond the national curriculum.

Dr Callender spoke about the initial teacher education curriculum and how there is not currently enough space to fully embed race and equality, diversion and inclusion within it. She said that this work should be rooted in every session, regardless of whether it focused on lesson planning, behaviour, assessment or other topics.

The panellists also covered resources available to schools on teaching EDI and Black history. While they agreed that high-quality resources were available, Dr Callender noted that they were fragmented, and there was need for a central organisation that has a brief for resources.

She also stressed that frameworks such as the Teachers’ Standards need to recognise and embed EDI, otherwise there’s little impetus for people to implement this.

Dr Callender said: “Research evidence has shown that where there is strong school leadership on equity and inclusion this creates a positive environment for teachers and contributes to the attainment of pupils. Diversity, equity and inclusion are not ‘bolt-ons’. They are integral to teachers’ work, regardless of who and where they teach.”