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Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language

First published:
22 October 2021
Last updated:

Wales is leading the way by becoming the first part of the UK to make it mandatory to teach Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories and experiences in the curriculum. This will ensure our young people develop an understanding of others’ identities and make connections with people, places and histories elsewhere in Wales and across the world. It will reinforce the importance of teaching past and present experiences and contributions of ethnic minority peoples as part of the story of Wales across the curriculum.

In March 2021, the previous Minister for Education was presented with the final report from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group, chaired by Professor Charlotte Williams OBE. Taking forward the recommendations arising from the report is a key priority for the Welsh Government.

I am pleased to say that strong progress has been made on the recommendations and that this will support implementation of our new curriculum, which is being introduced from September 2022. I am keen to ensure that this work complements and supports the actions being undertaken by the Welsh Government in the Race Equality Action Plan. The findings and recommendations in the recent Estyn thematic report on “The teaching of Welsh history including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic history, identity and culture” echo those in the Group’s report, and help us to further understand the nature of this challenge for learners, teachers and leaders. It will be important for us to address these recommendations as part of the implementation of the Group’s report. In making these links, we are ensuring that the teaching of Welsh history, identity and culture is truly diverse, and we are enabling learners to understand and develop a strong sense of their own identity and well-being as part of their cynefin.

Key achievements to date include the announcement of the new category of Professional Teaching Awards Cymru named “The Betty Campbell MBE award for promoting the contributions and perspectives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities”. This new award promotes and celebrates inclusion and recognises excellent awareness of the importance of an inclusive education as part of a society that confronts and addresses racism in all forms. I encourage all individuals, teams and schools that have demonstrated this awareness and/or developed initiatives that contribute to a whole-school approach to the inclusion of ethnic minority – and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller – communities’ experiences to apply here.

I am today announcing the publication of our plan to increase recruitment of more people who are from ethnic minority backgrounds into Initial Teacher Education. This plan will be the first step in a wider strategy to recruit and retain more people from ethnic minority backgrounds into the Education workforce. We are also introducing, for the first time, financial incentives to help recruit more ethnic minority teachers.

Whilst the work has been progressing well, some of the recommendations will require further discussion with partners to embed this significant culture change. Good progress has been made on professional learning, mentoring and resources, which require further stakeholder engagement. In spring 2022, there are due to be National Network conversations focused on diversity for the development of resources and supporting materials on Welsh History and local contexts. Over time, there will be a need for continuous review and development. My priority now is to continue to progress this work.  

I would also like to give my thanks to Professor Williams, who has played a pivotal role in supporting the Welsh Government in taking forward the recommendations. I am extremely grateful for the valuable guidance she provides to my officials, and the significant engagement that she carries out with external stakeholders and partners. I am pleased that she has accepted my invitation to continue to support the delivery of the new Curriculum for Wales in an advisory and implementation role until the start of the next academic year in September 2022.