Offensive ‘slave trade’ resource pulled as school apologises

By The Ligali Organisation | Sat 17 November 2012

An offensive resource on African enslavement has been removed from class lessons with an apology following complaints over pupil distress.

The Head teacher of the Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School in Barnet has issued an apology following complaints about the use of offensive material during a lesson on slavery.

Mrs Kate Webster who apologised to the mother of a child distressed by the insensitive material wrote “On behalf of the school, I apologise unreservedly for the distress and anguish caused to [the student] and to her mother, as well as to you and others in your community who this material may have been shared with. Now I have had the opportunity to view the Powerpoint in its' entirety, I share your concerns”.

The material which was presented to year 9 Students during a lesson on the ‘slave trade’ trivialises the tragedy of African enslavement. It included a lesson objective telling pupils to create a business proposal whilst devising a plan to enslave African people for the ‘Dragon’s Den’ and made indecent reference to the sexual abuse of African women as the ‘best thing about slavery’.

The PowerPoint presentation has since been removed from the school intranet following the School’s consultation with a national Headteachers' group (ASCL) who after reviewing both the content and presentation of the lesson expressed similar concerns to the complainant.

Webster confirmed that the resources used to teach the lesson have been withdrawn and the module will be reviewed and rewritten before the topic is taught again.

Kate Webster: Headteacher - Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School

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Pupil distressed after ‘best thing about slavery’ lesson

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The school & department apologises for any distress caused to the student & her mother & for any offence caused. The learning materials which were used have been withdrawn and the module will be reviewed and rewritten before the topic is taught next year.

Mrs Kate Webster, Headteacher

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