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Petitioning Department of Education, UK Parliament, Global Partnership for Education, Department for Education

Battle racism by updating GCSE reading lists

Petition to get Good Immigrant (Nikesh Shukla) and Why I’m No longer Talking to White People About Race (Reni Eddo-Lodge), on the GCSE reading list. The current English GCSE reading list consists of authors ranging from 19th Century writers such as; Charles Dickens, George Elliot and Charlotte Bronte. Shakespeare dominates a large portion of reading lists, and modern prose shows a little more diversity with Meera Syal and Maya Angelou amongst George Orwell and John Steinbeck. Although these lists of literature span a wide range of content, they do very little to reflect our current society. Current books on the curriculum - With recent events in America (the murder of George Floyd by a police officer), we need to look closer to home on how we can learn from these acts of horror, and how we can lead by example to be the change we want to see, so we can prevent these events from happening again.  Education is where it starts. Although you can have debates and go on marches in the hope of battling closed minds, school is where minds are opened and where we should grasp the opportunity to teach students about diversity and our current society, including the injustices.  That is why I am proposing the following books be added to the GCSE reading lists -  The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla - A collection of essays written by a wide range of the BAME personalities voicing their experiences of racism in this country. The contributors range from actors, to journalism, musicians and writers.  Each essay offers a different perspective and view point.  Why I am no longer talking to white people about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge - This books spans a wide range of issues relating to the institutional racism of this country. It confronts British history, feminism and the class system. This book started out as a blog post and after such a wide response, Eddo-Lodge decided to expand her response. It’s had international success.  These two books wouldn’t only contribute diversity to the current GCSE reading lists, they would also highlight our current society’s diversity, inequalities and opportunities for change. Highlighting this to young adults will hopefully ignite a desire to be part of the change and also stamp out ignorance towards diversity.

Molly Crossley
497,232 supporters
Petitioning SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EDUCATION, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Gavin Williamson, Department of Education, Jonathon slater, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Department for Education

Make Black British History Compulsory in Schools

This petition is to call for British Black History to be made mandatory throughout schools in the UK. Many people today do not know that black communities have been in the UK from the beginning and as the growing population of people of colour and mixed children continues, it is a shock that it is not part of our education system. In Primary school and First Year of secondary education, we are taught of Black History in American and the slave trade that occurred there. We are taught the names of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., yet many people have never heard the names of Ignatius Sancho and Stuart Hall. They have never heard of the slave trade that occurred in Britain. It is only fair that children be educated on the heritage of black and brown people and make it part of the curriculum. The history of POCs have been erased in our country and it is not right, people in our country are not being taught about the racism that occurred here, e.g. the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and that is still occurring here making people believe that the UK is exempt to racism when that is not the case. As well as teaching black history, it is important to teach black culture (this will include all races and culture, including Asia). If we are taught different religions in our RE classes, we can be taught different African and Asian cultures in our history classes. By teaching our children at a young age, it will bring awareness to the oppression, discrimination and lack of protection that these community face in their day to day life in the hopes of making this country a more understanding, knowledgeable and equal one.

Black British History
297,989 supporters
Petitioning Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education, Ofqual, Department for Education

Boris Johnson: we need a fairer system for this year’s A-level and GCSE students

Like many thousands of school pupils doing A levels, GCSEs, BTECs and other qualifications, I’d expected to be getting my exam results this week. Instead, because of coronavirus, all of us who couldn’t take exams are having our results decided by a computer algorithm, which doesn’t look at our individual performance and marks us down for which school we went to. Almost 40% of A-level assessments have been downgraded, potentially impacting the futures of thousands of young people. This is not right - and I’m calling on the Government to urgently sort out this injustice. For a lot of pupils, the algorithm doesn’t even consider what our own teachers predicted we’d get. There isn’t a proper appeals process. Worst of all, pupils from poorer schools, with lower results historically, are due to get automatically marked down by the software. Poorer pupils get marked down because of where they live and the school they go to, with their individual efforts and performance disregarded and their teacher’s assessments ignored. How can this be right? Nobody's saying that this year's arrangements for results are easy to sort out. The times we live in are difficult ones, but that’s no excuse for building a system that systematically discriminates against poorer pupils. Appeals using mock exams aren't the solution, not least because many people don't have reliable or recent mocks, and many would perform better at the end of the year than months ago. I’m calling for Boris Johnson, and his Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, to step in and fix it urgently. At a minimum, the Government must ensure there is: No “marking down” of individual pupils based purely on them having gone to a less good school A free appeals system open to any pupil More weight given to our own teachers’ assessments, as they are better placed than an algorithm to judge us as individuals  I go to a comprehensive school in West London, and had the benefit of some of the best teachers I could have asked for. I've done well in my results, but me personally doing okay does not make the Government's proposed system fair. I am disgusted at the number of my friends, as well as thousands of students up and down the country, receiving grades that aren't indicative of the hard work and effort that's been put in for the last two years. This system could have resulted in 18-year-old students receiving grades, perhaps on the basis of last year's pupils having a bad day, and those same students subsequently having no recourse beyond sitting new exams after it was already too late for their chance to go to university. The Government can choose to stop this injustice. I have sat on the end of the phone in a previous year comforting a close friend of mine whose exam results were far from what they expected. I do not want more of my friends brought to tears solely because the Government decided that the numbers that they produced from a computer were infallible.

Curtis Parfitt-Ford
253,756 supporters
Petitioning Avenues College, John Gardener, Education Minister SA, Dr Michele Bruniges, Secretary of the Education Dept., Corey Wingard, Minister for Police Australia, Grant Stevens, Police Comissioner SA, Sco...

Public Apology from attackers parents to Maddy and Expel them! As per go fund me page link above you will see on the 4th February 2020, Maddy, a 13 year old girl whom had just started high school was brutally bashed in a public restaurant, whilst being filmed, by two older females (14 and 15 years of age) Whilst unconscious, her front teeth were kicked out of her mouth by one of the savage attackers.  The Avenues School that the attackers and victim go to has suspended the attackers, however this is NOT GOOD ENOUGH! What do we have a justice system for? We can’t take the matter into our own hands, as much as many would like, because then we would be committing the same crime that these vicious girls did. I am petitioning for these girls to be Expelled from this school and that both girls parents come forward and publicly apologise on behalf of their disgraced children for the pain and suffering caused to their innocent victim Maddy.  **update**I also agree that the attackers should have to fund all related medical/ physical/ emotional expenses that will occur from their beating of Maddy. On behalf of the North Eastern Community, we demand: EXPEL THE GIRLS! PARENTS TO PUBLICLY APOLOGISE! 

Ree Ree
213,041 supporters
Petitioning Department for Education

Period Pains (dysmenorrhea) need to be a legitimate reason for absence in schools

I am the proud father of incredibly courageous, fierce and strong daughters, the eldest of which attends Secondary School. It not only saddens me that I am urged to write to you, but it also raises significant concerns surrounding the physical, mental and social wellbeing of not only my daughters but all people who have periods across the country.  I'm sure anyone who has had a period would agree, that at some stage, they have suffered significantly from Dysmenorrhoea, yes there is actually a medical term for ‘period pains’. The reason for this terminology is due to its being a globally recognised medical condition, with a variety of treatment approaches, from over the counter pain relief and a hot water bottle to surgical interventions. By not allowing absences due to Dysmenorrhoea, which you are doing by considering them unauthorised, shows very clear disparities, and registering absences as unauthorised due to a medical condition only affecting women and people who menstruate is a clear demonstration.  This leads me to the concerns I have surrounding ignorance of the condition, the impact of a CIS male-dominated field within the senior leadership teams in schools, or the sheer disregard for the physical, emotional and academic wellbeing of our pupils. As the department responsible for Education it baffles me that the following archaic approach is not only alive and well but also continuing to influence practice in 2021 posing a direct risk to our young women, trans, non-binary pupils and everyone pupil has by no choice of theirs own menstruates. This morning 22nd September 2021, yes 2021, NOT 1821, I needed to contact our school's administration team to report an absence due to a medical condition. The message was brief with no real personal details given. The reason for not divulging the details of the condition is because I was doing so on behalf of my thirteen-year-old daughter, who is not only capable of making her own informed decisions as to what information is shared with others but I would not freely discuss my daughter's health needs without her consent. Frankly, schools should not be requiring such information either, they are not medical professionals, nor would they fully understand the full extent or severity of any condition through a phone call. It is also highly intrusive and asking for the reason is ethically and morally questionable.  For as long as humankind has walked the planet 50% of the human species have been menstruating, it is not only a completely natural occurrence, but it is crucial to the survival of the human race, fact! It is also a known fact that for centuries this recurring cycle has been seen as a weakness by many, particularly by men, and has resulted in decades of inequality, disparity and inequity for women and those who might be necessarily identify as female but still suffer on a regular basis. We are seeing this in action still, presenting through absence policies and school assemblies. How many young females, trans and non-binary pupils are being dismissed within the education setting, as a result of diminishing their experiences, and unilaterally deciding that their discomfort does not matter.  This attitude and the rules coming into play are: Not conducive to learning. Not conducive to empowering our young women. Not conducive to creating equity within schools. Damaging the academic prospects, by reducing official records of attendance due to periods.  Clearly showing the disparity between males and marginalised pupils by the reasons an absence will be authorised or unauthorised.  We need to make significant changes not only to the institutions responsible for nurturing our young women and future leaders but also need to educate the prehistoric mindsets of the policy creators and decision-makers. Please sign this petition to start protecting the rights and dignity of our young females within the education setting. Marcus Alleyne, Proud father of our fierce, brave and intelligent young daughters.

Marcus Alleyne
119,090 supporters
Petitioning Damian hinds, Sue Baldwin, Iain Duncan Smith MP, Stella Creasy MP, John Cryer MP, Faiza Shaheen, Angela Rayner MP, Department for Education

Save our Children's education! Allow failed academies to return to Local Authority

In 2016, our local school - Longshaw Primary School - was forced by the Department for Education into becoming an academy. Us parents were given no say in how this may affect our children. Now a slew of financial irregularities have been uncovered, dozens of teachers have left and almost 100 children too. The Silver Birch Academy Trust of which the school is under, is being dissolved in accordance with parent demand. That is why we're calling for failed academies to have the option of being brought into local authority supervision to bring stability. If this doesn't happen, we fear these failures could lead to our children not getting the education they deserve or need for their futures. At the time, we started to realise something was going very wrong when teachers didn’t come back after holiday breaks. We were given no notice of teachers leaving, our children would return from holidays to find much-loved teachers replaced with agency staff. Some children have experienced as many as 7 different teachers in 2 years and in the academic year of 2017/2018, only 4 out of the 14 classes did not experience a change of teacher. In addition, we have discovered that the Trust had employed unqualified family members to teach and that members of its management team were providing their personal services as consultants, charging the school as much as £650 a day. This isn't just a one off case. Since speaking out, we've had parents across the country tell us the same thing is happening to their children's schools. Why is this being allowed to happen? There are too many stories like ours, where Trusts have grossly failed our children and teachers in our schools. Morale is low amongst staff, school funds have been depleted and parents have been kept in the dark. Meanwhile the CEO and deputy CEO have paid themselves huge salaries. Trusts are not held accountable. Our school cannot afford another Trust that is rife with cronyism, nepotism and financial self-interest and for as long as the current system remains, this behaviour will continue. Our local authority Waltham Forest still has many schools under its supervision and these schools have prospered. Returning Longshaw to the local authority is in the best interest of the school and will ensure that it is accountable to the community. We love our school and want it to prosper even when our kids no longer attend the school. Please sign our petition.

Nina Mavroudis
60,100 supporters
Petitioning Gavin Williamson, Ofqual, Department for Education, Boris Johnson, Kate Green, Robert Halfon

Make black British history MANDATORY on the curriculum

The education system in the UK is failing British children. The tragic death of George Floyd has highlighted the existance of systematic racism in America's modern society. It's easy for Brits to view this as 'America's problem'. However, the UK is not innocent. We, too, have a history and society tainted with racism. In order to change this, we need to learn the lessons of the past. However, I believe, as a British 16 year old in the state school system, that schools in the UK are failing to do this.  GCSE students are taught in detail about America's civil rights movement, yet very few students know about the British movement. All students know about Martin Luther King, but how many know about Paul Stephenson? We all know the story of Rosa Parks, but did you know that there were also British Bus Boycotts in protest of the 'colour bar' that excluded non-white workers from the transport industry? We are taught from a very young age that our country once 'owned' a quarter of the territories in the world, and we are told the story of Christopher Columbus's journey to America as if it is a romantic voyage of discovery. However, the education system skirts around the fact this caused deep suffering of native people in the colonies (for example the Amritsar Massacre of 1919), and how ultimately this created the foundation for the systematic racial injustice in modern society. We are taught about the slave trade was one of the greatest horrors in human history. Despite this, it is not mandatory for pupils to study. Schools which don't teach about this in detail leave students unaware that the British transported an estimated 3.1 million black people from their homes in horrific conditions, then sold them - as though they were 'goods' - to plantation owners. We can't allow this kind of historical amnesia to grow in the community.  Unless we receive proper education about the origins of racism in this country, entire generations will continue to view racism as 'America's problem'. We need to be able to accept that our country has a history tainted with racism so that we can learn from past mistakes and build a stronger, fairer and brighter community.  The KS3 curriculum for history and/or PSHE must contain a truthful, full education in British colonialism, the British slave trade and the British civil rights movement, as this will allow the future leaders of the UK to identify still existing problems with racism in this country, so that we can create positive, lasting change. This needs to be taught to all students, therefore must be taught in year 9 or below and importantly must be MANDATORY across all schools. Unless the curriculum changes, systematic racism in this country can't change. 

Laura Burton
49,383 supporters
Revoke the high pressure EYFS reforms. Young children need real learning not rote learning

We are aware of a petition on that makes significant misleading claims about our reforms to the early years foundation stage (EYFS). The petition suggests that children will be deemed as failing if they do not reach particular milestones at ages four and five. This is untrue. These milestones are not tests; they are an end-point measure of children’s attainment at age 5 and readiness for year 1. No child will be deemed as failing if they are not meeting these developmental goals. We have transformed early years learning and development, focusing on equipping children with the early language, literacy, numeracy and other skills they will need as they start their school journey. The point of these reforms is to make sure early years professionals fully support children’s holistic learning and development throughout reception year. These reforms achieve that by removing unnecessary paper work to free up more time for teachers to spend interacting with children. This builds on pilot findings published last year, where teachers found changes largely positive, with feedback that it helped focus on stories, group work and discussion, inspiring pupils to be more imaginative and improving their language skills. Our reforms have been developed following extensive consultation with the sector. Jan Dubiel, specialist in Early Childhood Education, said: “Recent events have been a stark reminder of how unpredictable the world can be. As educators and policy makers concerned with early years care and education, we have a duty to ensure that we are preparing children to be knowledgeable, skilled, resilient and creative to manage and succeed in the future that they will face. “We are all committed to providing the most effective and up to date provision for children that will ensure this. The review of the Statutory Educational Programmes, Early Learning Goals and EYFS Profile provides us with a timely opportunity to reflect on, update and refine key aspects of the EYFS.” Dr Julian Grenier, Headteacher at Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre, said: “I think it’s important for the sector to take hold of the opportunities these reforms offer us. Reducing the workload around the EYFS Profile will enable practitioners to focus their assessment work where it’s most needed. That’s for children in danger of falling behind the majority, and children who may have barriers to their learning. “This is an opportunity for schools to think about their early years curriculum, and what they want children to learn, experience and enjoy, rather than focusing on assessment data. The key to giving children better and more equal life-chances is to strengthen the profession in the early years. I hope that colleagues will seize this opportunity to put less emphasis on generating ‘data’ on more on developing a stronger and better-trained workforce.” Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, said: “The Chartered College of Teaching welcomes these reforms. It is vital that teachers and early years colleagues are free to spend the majority of their time focussing on leading learning rather than constantly tracking and monitoring progress for external moderation purposes.” Tiffnie Harris, primary specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We support this new approach to early learning because it will remove the administrative burden of external moderation and give our fantastic early years teachers more time to interact with children. Early years education is so important for future outcomes, and it is a key to narrowing the attainment gap between rich and poor. We very much welcome the focus on this vital phase.”

3 years ago
Stop the 33% downgrade of 2020 A level and GCSE results

We are aware of a petition on based on a misapprehension about the way young people will be allocated grades for their GCSEs and A levels this summer. The petition being circulated on social media suggests there will be a blanket downgrading of all students’ grades by up to 33%. This is not true. Reality: This year, all exams in England were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We worked with Ofqual, the qualifications regulator, to develop a system whereby schools and colleges provide grades for students and then these grades are standardised by the exam boards to ensure national consistency and comparability to previous years. Thanks to this, young people can feel assured that the grades they receive this year will have the same currency as in any other year. Any students who do not feel the process has been followed correctly will have the right to appeal, and any who are not happy with their grades will have the opportunity to take exams in the autumn. Any adjustments made as a result of standardisation will be determined by exam boards for each subject in each school and college, based on the evidence, to make sure standards are consistent.

3 years ago