Anger after primary school in Manor Park asks pupils to dress as slaves for Black History Month

PUBLISHED: 17:55 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:27 17 October 2017

St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School. Picture: Google

St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School. Picture: Google


A primary school in Manor Park has been forced to apologise for sending home a letter asking pupils to come into school dressed as slaves for Black History Month.

This letter was sent home to parents asking them to dress their children as slaves. Picture credit: FACEBOOK This letter was sent home to parents asking them to dress their children as slaves. Picture credit: FACEBOOK

On Friday parents and carers of a year two class at St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School were sent a letter asking for their children to come to school in “dirty and worn out” clothes for a special assembly.

“It might be an idea to not wash these clothes and stain them with tea or coffee to look more authentic,” the letter added.

Girls were encouraged to wear straw hats or fabric head wraps and boys were asked to wear straw hats or berets.

“You wouldn’t ask Jewish children to come in and re-enact the Holocaust,” said one parent, who wished to remain anonymous.

However the school has put on a wide range of Black History Month activities, she added, including inviting poet Benjamin Zephaniah to speak to the children.

She does not think this incident is representative of the school’s general approach, but was instead the rogue actions of an individual teacher.

“They have done a lot for Black History Month,” she said.

The Church Road school’s headteacher, Paul Underwood, today issued an apology.

“I apologise on behalf of the school for Friday’s unauthorised letter and the offence caused,” he said.

The letter was seen by no senior members of staff before being sent, he added. Another letter has subsequently been sent to the same group of parents, apologising for the original.

A spokeswoman for the school said: “We deeply regret the offence caused to our pupils and school community. This letter was sent out without the approval of the school’s senior management team or governors.

“We have written to those who received the letter to apologise and we have also spoken to the members of staff involved and taken steps to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.

“We understand the importance of Black History Month and celebrate this by studying the success and achievements of black role models.

“The content of this letter is not inkeeping with the ethos of the school or a reflection of how the school celebrates Black History Month.”


  • How dare you compare slavery to the holocaust? You utter buffoon. They are both among the most shameful things in history and if you underplay slavery I know all I need to about you.

    Report this comment

    Paul Raymond

    Saturday, October 21, 2017

  • Just because slavery has been re-enacted by children all over the world doesn’t make it right or acceptable, there is enough documents and photographic evidence for them to learn about it without acting it out themselves. It’s true though, how dare Africans compare their Holocaust to the Jewish Holocaust? (which was tragic and horrific). The African Holocaust lasted over 400 years, involved the Arabic and Transatlantic Slave Trade, saw the deaths of count-less millions of people from the shores of Africa to the Middle Passage to the shores of The New World, involved several European nations and built the international Super Powers that we see today. That is why WE AFRICANS dare to compare the Jewish Holocaust with our own. Furthermore our children do not need to learn anymore about slavery, IF schools want to teach them something productive about their history teach them about The Empire of Mali, Ghana, Songhai, Kemet, Shaka Zulu or Nzinga.

    Report this comment

    Mike Ess

    Wednesday, October 18, 2017

  • I'm racist and i find this pretty black

    Report this comment

    NeonicTiger .

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

  • It pity that the school did not celebrate Nat Turner and other slave leaders who lead revolution against their slave Masters.

    Report this comment

    Jennifer Whilby

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

  • Never have iheard of black history...nor did i do it... And my nor my kids or my granchild... Im sorry i find this totally wrong

    Report this comment

    Vee Markwell

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

  • How much more puerile poisonous political Correctness are schools in Newham going to shove down our kids throats? I went to school in Newham in the late 60searly 70s, and the rot was setting in then. By all means celebrate the history of the various communities in our borough - it would be wrong not to - but let’s not make one community feel their history is more important than any other group. Let’s have equality amongst our diversity.

    Report this comment

    Joan Hammond

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

  • The writer of this piece, the negative commenters and the parent that complained should be ashamed of themselves and apologise Putting a lovely outstanding school and its teachers through this utter nonsense. Thousands of schools around the world celebrate black history month in a variety of ways. Why this is different, I find difficult to understand. Re enacting slavery has been done by children all over the world thousands of times over. How dare you compare slavery to the holocaust? Black History Month has been celebrated widely for many years honouring the achievements, culture, and the history of black people. For children, they learn through what they see, how are they supposed to learn and understand what African- AmericansBritish went through, if they don’t see it. Before all the achievements, our history started in Africa which was colonised and ‘Yes’ our ancestors were slaves and wore clothes that looked like they were stained with tea If you can’t deal with history, please take a back seat and remain ignorant

    Report this comment

    O Doherty

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

  • I went to this school as a child, I am so disgusted by this and how it was allowed to happen. Its bad enough that black people are supposed to be grateful for a pathetic 4 weeks to learn about 'black history'. Never mind the fact that black people remain erased for most of mainstream history. I'm so angry about this!

    Report this comment

    Mag Nelly

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

  • If this is how Newham schools intend to teach children about black history month then they may as well leave it alone! Totally insensitive and pointless exercise that can only cause offence and breed more ignorance. Shame on this school

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

  • Has this rogue teacher been sacked. Someone this dumb, ignorant and insensitive should not be given the precious responsibility of teaching our youth. The individual should be removed from post

    Report this comment

    Aretha Solanke

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

  • This school is based in Manor park not Forestgate (smh)

    Report this comment

    Dee Thompson

    Monday, October 16, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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