Colonialism, the slave trade and the legacy of the British Empire should be taught in schools, Jeremy Corbyn is set to say.
The Labour leader wants youngsters to know how ‘slavery interrupted a rich African and black history’ and said they should be taught about the ‘resilience and sacrifice of those enslaved and the struggle for liberation.’
His proposals have already put him at odds with the Conservative party who have accused him of putting ‘ideology’ above children’s education.
The Education Secretary Damian Hinds will use a speech today to attack Labour, accusing them of ‘dangerous control freakery’ in their plans to hand more education power over to local authorities.
Mr Corbyn will use a visit to Bristol to unveil plans for an Emancipation Educational Trust, which would educate future generations about our history with the wider world.
His visit marks Black History Month and comes after the recent Windrush scandal, which saw many descendants of Commonwealth citizens threatened with deportation.
Their parents had come over to help the UK after the labour shortage in the years after World War Two.
However some of those descendants, now elderly, were wrongly threatened and even sent back to the Caribbean because – despite living and working here for decades – it emerged successive governments had failed to keep official paperwork.
Mr Corbyn is set to say: ‘Black history is British history, and it should not be confined to a single month each year.
‘It is vital that future generations understand the role that Black Britons have played in our country’s history and the struggle for racial equality.
‘In the light of the Windrush scandal, Black History Month has taken on a renewed significance and it is more important now than ever that we learn and understand as a society the role and legacy of the British Empire, colonisation and slavery.
‘Black History Month is a crucial chance to celebrate the immense contribution of black Britons to this country, to reflect on our common history and ensure that such grave injustices can never happen again.’
Labour sources said the move would not mean changing the curriculum but would encourage history to be taught more widely.
However Tory MPs have questioned why Mr Corbyn did not want to focus on more positive aspects of Britain’s history, such as its role in the world wars against ‘tyranny and dictatorship’.
Mr Corbyn’s proposal comes a few weeks after the Labour conference in which shadow education secretary Angela Rayner announced their policies on education.
Under Tony Blair, the last Labour government introduced the academies programme, which gives schools freedom from local authority control.
This was used to turn around sink schools in deprived areas and challenge the idea of the ‘bog standard comprehensive’.
The Tories hugely expanded this programme and introduced free schools, which can be set up by parents.
Now Ms Rayner has said Labour wants headteachers to follow a ‘common rule book’ drawn up by ministers.
It is also planning to scrap the free schools programme, freeze the academies programme, and take powers from heads and hand them to local councillors and ministers instead.
Mr Hinds will use a speech today at the launch of the Confederation of School Trusts at the British Library in London to slam the Labour U-turn.
He will say that the ‘common rulebook’ is ‘dangerous control freakery’ while Mr Corbyn should ‘leave our children alone.’
Mr Hinds will say: ‘Labour saw the evidence. They had a choice between what is working for children and what left wing dogma says.
‘They have made their choice. For them, ideology comes before children’s education.’
He is further expected to criticise Labour’s plans, saying: ‘Angela Rayner may call it ‘local democratic control.’
‘I call it not trusting schools. Why do Labour want to put politicians in charge of schools? It’s because they don’t trust headteachers.’
Former international development secretary Priti Patel said a Labour Party ‘whose politicians and activists act as apologists for the crimes of dictators and terrorists who have threatened our country should be let nowhere near our schools’.
She added: ‘We have already seen that Corbyn and his cronies want to brainwash school children and end the freedom of the Press, now they want to talk down our country.’