Schools minister says ‘no reason why children shouldn’t learn from dead white men’

The schools minister has said that there is no reason why children from ethnic minorities should not learn from the work of ‘dead white men’.

Nick Gibb, speaking virtually to the Social Market Foundation think tank today, stated that ‘we should not be ashamed of who we are and where we came from’.

He had been discussing the importance of a knowledge-rich curriculum in raising school standards and creating a more cohesive society. 

The discussion comes amid a movement to abolish GCSEs that emerged during the coronavirus pandemic.

The cancellation of the summer exams for a second year in a row prompted some education leaders and politicians to call on ministers to consider reforming GCSEs in the post-Covid years. 

Nick Gibb, speaking virtually to the Social Market Foundation think tank today, stated that 'we should not be ashamed of who we are and where we came from'

Nick Gibb, speaking virtually to the Social Market Foundation think tank today, stated that 'we should not be ashamed of who we are and where we came from'

Nick Gibb, speaking virtually to the Social Market Foundation think tank today, stated that ‘we should not be ashamed of who we are and where we came from’

Mr Gibb told the panel: ‘There is no reason why the work of a “dead white man” is not appropriate for children from ethnic minorities to learn about…

‘We will not create a more harmonious, tolerant and equal society through promoting a curriculum based on relevance to or representativeness of any one group.

‘Nor will we do so by being ashamed of who we are and where we came from.’

He went on to add: ‘We cannot rewrite our history or undo our past mistakes. We should tell the full and true story of who we are and what, as a country, we have done; right and wrong. 

Last week, The Times reported that former prime minister Sir John Major had called for reform of the exam system as he disliked GCSEs due to the 'stress and strain they impose on students'

Last week, The Times reported that former prime minister Sir John Major had called for reform of the exam system as he disliked GCSEs due to the 'stress and strain they impose on students'

Last week, The Times reported that former prime minister Sir John Major had called for reform of the exam system as he disliked GCSEs due to the ‘stress and strain they impose on students’

‘And, by doing so, we can build a broad and accepted understanding of the country and create a common sense of belonging and shared history.’ 

It comes as Mr Gibb warned that abolishing GCSEs would set the education system back decades and ‘fail’ the most disadvantaged children.  

Last week, The Times reported that former prime minister Sir John Major had called for reform of the exam system as he disliked GCSEs due to the ‘stress and strain they impose on students’.

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