Tuesday, January 12, 2016

British High School students to be taught that the nation's earliest inhabitants were Africans who were in Britain before the English  

GCSE students are to be taught that some of our nation’s earliest inhabitants were Africans who arrived here long before the English.

The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the extraordinary rewriting of our island’s history – the politically correct work of a Marxist academic – will be offered to thousands of history students throughout England from September.

Its creators claim the course addresses the ‘white male-dominated’ view of history – but it has outraged some of Britain’s most eminent thinkers.

Booker and Nobel prize-winning novelist V.S. Naipaul said: ‘Once again political correctness is distorting our history and the education of our children.’

And historian Sir Roy Strong, author of The Story Of Britain, said: ‘This stands history on its head, projecting back on to the past something that isn’t true.’

The ‘Africans in Britain’ quotation is the opening line of a key book on the course reading list by a Marxist historian and refers to a Roman legion of North Africans briefly stationed on Hadrian’s Wall in the 3rd Century, before the arrival of Anglo-Saxons.

Up to 500 ‘Aurelian’ Moors – named in honour of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, popularised in the film Gladiator – manned a fort near Carlisle.

But there is no evidence they ever settled there.

Offered by the Oxford and Cambridge examination board (OCR) and approved for use in schools, the course literature states: ‘This course will enable students to learn how the movement of people – European, African, Asian – to and from these islands has shaped the story of this nation for thousands of years.

‘The history of migration is the story of Britain: in 1984, Peter Fryer wrote, “There were Africans in Britain before the English came.” ’

The course – Migration To Britain c. 1,000 to c. 2010 – was created with academics from the Black and Asian Studies Association but has been condemned as ‘pro-immigration propaganda’ at a time when the subject is especially sensitive.

Last night, eminent military historian and author Antony Beevor said: ‘Migration is a very valid area to study, but if it’s a question of rewriting history to bolster the morale of certain sections of the population, rather than a scrupulous attitude towards facts, then that is a total distortion and it’s outrageous.’

Sir Roy Strong said: ‘The only Africans who came here were a few with the Romans who came and then left! I find it disturbing that our children should be taught something that is clearly designed to feed into contemporary problems rather than tell our island’s story properly.’

V. S. Naipaul added: ‘This absurd supposition of Africans inhabiting Britain before the English only goes to show how our once esteemed centres of learning, Oxford and Cambridge, have been insidiously eroded by a dangerous dogma that, very like IS today, wrought misery and havoc in Russia, China and the Eastern bloc, where for all practical purposes it has failed.’

Although the new course takes its starting point as the Middle Ages, one section is headed ‘Population diversity in England before 1066’.

Professor Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University, a specialist adviser to the Commons Education Committee, said: ‘This seems to be aimed more at indoctrination than education. It is dangerous because a cohesive society depends on an authentic shared view of history.’

And Campaign for Real Education chairman Chris McGovern said: ‘The country is being sold down the river by the politically correct brigade and national identity sacrificed for minority groups to feel included. It’s pro-immigration propaganda.’

But Professor Mark Ormrod, of York University, one of the historians researching the new topic, said: ‘It is an outstanding example of how a long view of history helps us to understand and to find a place for ourselves in contemporary society.

‘Our research project shows how, for example, in the late Middle Ages, no one was more than ten miles from an immigrant.’

Mike Goddard, head of history at OCR, said: ‘There is no political bias. The GCSE will present facts. It is not pushing any particular argument.’

And Martin Spafford, of BASA’s education committee, stressed that ‘students will hear both positive and negative views about migration. It’s been a controversial subject and we don’t shy away from that’.

The Department for Education said: ‘The law is crystal clear – all political discussions in schools should be unbiased and balanced.’


Oxford? It's magic says Hogwarts generation: University dusts off its daunting reputation thanks to Harry Potter fans

Its daunting reputation for academic robes and dusty traditions has made applying to Oxford a terrifying prospect for generations of students.

But now the university is enjoying a resurgence in popularity among state school pupils – thanks to Harry Potter.

University chiefs say that teenagers steeped in Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts are no longer deterred by Oxford’s traditions – because they echo scenes in J. K. Rowling’s bestselling books.

Instead, Oxford’s head of admissions Samina Khan says the ‘Hogwarts generation’ is excited by the prospect of grand dining halls, flowing robes and ancient ceremonies.

‘This is a generation that’s grown up with Harry Potter,’ says Ms Khan. ‘They recognise the benefits of that small college community, the grand tables and talking about current affairs.’

In fact, Oxford’s Christ Church College inspired the set design for Hogwarts school hall in the Potter films, and Oxford remains one of the few universities where formal academic dress is still worn.

Last year, more than 75 per cent of students at the university voted to keep formal academic dress a part of student life.

Emma Hine, who is reading geography at St John’s College, said: ‘As a student ambassador, the school pupils I’ve spoken to are always interested in the ceremonies and quirks and see it as a positive.’

More than half of Oxford students now come from state schools, but with 17,000 applicants for just 3,200 places each year, winning a place remains far from easy.


Primary teachers labelling ten pupils a week 'racist': Figure up by 23% on previous year with children as young as four being kicked out of classrooms

Primary school children are being kicked out of classes at the rate of more than ten every week for racist behaviour, government figures reveal.

The figure, which is at a six-year high, even includes children from schools’ Reception year, which is for children aged just four and five.

All schools are obliged to deal with racist incidents ‘effectively’ under government guidelines on promoting tolerance, with those failing to do so penalised with sanctions.

Infants can be suspended from school for racist words or bullying which is considered to be racially motivated.

The statistics for the school year that ended in the summer of 2014 show there were 430 occasions when a child aged 11 or younger was suspended from school for racist behaviour.

This is up 23 per cent on the figure for the previous year when 350 such incidents were recorded.

With a typical school year amounting to 190 days in the classroom, it means more than two young children are disciplined for displaying serious racist behaviour every school day.

Government officials said tackling racist bullying would make children feel safer at school, but yesterday critics said the punishments may be disproportionate.

Christopher McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘Very often young children will blurt out comments that adults may consider racist but which the child may say in all innocence.

‘Threatening infants with suspension or other punishment if they unknowingly say something considered inappropriate can be both intimidating and disturbing for impressionable children.

‘It can create an atmosphere of fear that is damaging to a child’s long-term development. Greater sensitivity, not rigid rule enforcement, needs to be exercised in these matters.’

Children suspended for racist behaviour included six cases from Cornwall including one where a child called another pupil a “n*****”.

Birmingham City Council revealed it had one case where a nine-year-old boy was permanently expelled from school for a range of bad behaviour including racist abuse of fellow pupils.

Others excluded were another nine-year-old boy, from Solihull, who got in trouble for repeatedly using racist language.

Meanwhile, three children at schools in East Sussex were excluded for racist abuse and physically attacking other students.

Brent Council, in London, said it handed a suspension to an eight-year-old pupil for racist abuse.

In Barking and Dagenham the council revealed its schools suspended eight children for racist behaviour including five who were aged seven to nine.

Kent Council, which is one of the largest local authorities in England, said it saw 18 occasions where children aged seven to 11 were given fixed term exclusions for racist behaviour.

In West Sussex a girl aged six was sent home from school after she was found guilty of racist behaviour.

Simon Woolley, director of the anti-racist group Operation Black Vote, said: ‘In most cases young children who repeatedly use racist language at school are often mimicking the language they hear at home.

‘Better a child learns early on that this is unacceptable rather than they get sacked when they’re adults at work.’

Under government guidelines, all schools must show they are promoting fundamental British Values by encouraging pupils to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.

They must also safeguard children from both verbal and physical bullying by their peers.

Schools have been penalised heavily by education regulator Ofsted for either having too many racist incidents or for failing to tackle racist incidents effectively.

A Department for Education spokesman, said: ‘Racism has no place in our schools. We want to make sure every child feels safe at school and is able to learn without disruption, so they can fulfil their potential.

‘Schools are required to have a behaviour policy in place with measures to tackle bullying, and they are already held to account by Ofsted.

‘We are also going further by appointing behaviour expert Tom Bennett to lead a review to ensure new teachers are fully trained in dealing with disruption and consider all of the challenges of managing behaviour in 21st century schools.’


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