Thursday, 3 January 2013
Mary Seacole versus Michael Gove - you decide!
@dreoincl Please help publicise OBV petition to keep Mary Seacole on national curriculum. Cheers! change.org/en-GB/petition…
— Mary Seacole (@seacolestatue) January 3, 2013
There is no logic, or moral reason why a Tory Minister should wish to eradicate Mary Seacole from our curriculum. Quite why you would want to deny children the story of this heroic woman on a battlefield is a complete mystery to me. But that appears to be Michael Gove's intention, as reported by these three sources (here, here and here). France celebrates Ambrose Paré's medical advancements achieved on the battlefield, excluding the bezoar stone of course, why can't we celebrate the wonderful Mary Seacole? the fact that the Daily Mail slur her as a "politically correct myth" will enrage many readers.
History, whether Michael Gove likes it or not, comprises of people of all races, genders and social classes. One of New Labour's greatest success was its diversification of the History Curriculum. As a member of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors since its founding, it has been my honour and privilege to assess thousands of students of history including many scripts relating to black history. Many teachers reading will be fully aware of the crucial part black people's of America, for example, play in the delivery of Key Stage Three history. Additionally, a more culturally sensitive way of delivering modules on Britain's colonial past is to celebrate the participation and narratives of all regardless of race, class or gender. Mary Seacole is one tiny but symbolic example of the healthy diversification of the UK Curriculum. Explaining the crucial role that multiple identities played in creating Britain's legacy is a really important mode through which to deliver the citizenship aspects of the curriculum. Inclusivity, in the material we provide for children to construct their understanding of the past, is paramount. The Horrible History song style above has become an iconic and celebrated way of enabling children to access the wonderful story of women's involvement in the battlefield. Whether Michael Gove likes it or not, the history of the world we live in is not white, male and medieval. It is mutli-cultural, in race, gender, class and orientation.