Teaching diversity in the history classroom

Paul Bracey, Jackson Darius, Alison Gove-Humphries

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


The premise of this chapter is that diversity is fundamentally important in developing children’s understanding of the past in any context. Though this chapter focuses on the debate in England, with increased globalization diversity has become a feature of all societies (Banks, 2006;Vavrus. 2015), presenting schools the “…opportunity to educate students in an environment that reflects the reality of the nation and the world…” (Banks 2006, 201) .The National History Curriculum introduced for English schools in 2014 (DfE, 2013) referenced ‘diversity of societies and relationships between different groups’ (DfE, 2013, 189) as a purpose for studying history, the only explicit reference to diversity. Byrom noted that it lost the status it had in the 2008 National Curriculum (DfES/QCA, 2007) and ‘is now fitting comfortably within ‘similarity and difference’ (Byrom, 2013:.9). Its importance as a free standing concept has changed as it relates to diversity of peoples’ lives at a given time in the past rather than explicitly focusing on cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. National Curriculum 2014 references Rosa Parks and Mary Seacole at Key Stage 1, Benin at Key Stage 2, together with the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its effects at Key Stage 3 but only as exemplary suggestions. The Runnymede Trust were so concerned that diversity had been sidelined in the national curriculum they produced a paper questioning the reach of the national curriculum (Alexander et al, 2015), This raises a number of questions – how far does this represent a change with previous versions of the National Curriculum? What are its implications for teaching diversity? Should teachers consider it essential that ethnic diversity, the role of men and women, together with people from different classes are taught? These questions provide a focus for this chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDebates in History Teaching
EditorsIan Davies
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781315642864
ISBN (Print)9781138187597, 9781138187610
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2017

Publication series

NameDebates in subject teaching


  • Diversity
  • History
  • Teaching
  • Curriculum


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