Stratford primary school hosts Black History Month celebration

The Black History Month event at St Francis' Catholic Primary School. Picture: Angharad Carrick

The Black History Month event at St Francis' Catholic Primary School. Picture: Angharad Carrick - Credit: Archant

A primary school in Stratford held an event to commemorate important figures and movements within black history.

Each year group at St Francis' Catholic Primary School focused on a particular theme for its Black History Month event on Friday, October 18.

Year 6 pupils kicked off the event with a drama and dance performance depicting the Windrush generation, while Year 4 focused on the US civil rights movement including figureheads Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks.

The children explained that their dance performance, which included excerpts of Mr King's "I have a dream" speech, paid homage to those who had fought for equality.

Headteacher Natasha Scott said the celebration was part of a curriculum redesign which is about securing a deep and broad understanding of issues.

She added: "It is about cultural capital and personal development."

This year the school dedicated four weeks to learning about black history compared to the usual two.

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Staff were well prepared for the event. Speakers had been invited to talk to them about the importance of black history and how it helps all pupils, not just those with African heritage.

Year 5 pupils spent the half term working on the issue of apartheid in South Africa.

Their work culminated in a musical performance which included African drumming, songs, and raps about Nelson Mandela.

All of the pieces were created with the help and support of X7eaven, an east London performing arts studio.

It was St Francis' first Black History Month event with X7eaven, having previously worked with them for the school's international evening in the summer term.

Natasha said it was important that pupils work with the professionals.

Children in nursery, reception and years one to three had their own event on October 17. Year 2 performed a song about Barack Obama and pupils in Year 3 wrote poems about the first female black astronaut, Mae Jemison.

Natasha said: "The children have learned that black history is British history. These kinds of events are how we create tolerance."

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