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Teaching about Stephen Lawrence in Primary School?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Whataniceday, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. I need to teach the children about Stephen Lawrence (several year groups over a week KS1 and 2). I am reaching a sticking point in that I don't really feel the subject material is suitable - I don't want to go into how and why he was murdered, that he was brutally murdered. I don't want to introduce to some of the younger children that level of hate and violence. Let alone talking about his killers and how they had to fight for justice.
    It's to gain the Stephen Lawrence award in the school. This is the first time I am having trouble. He is famous because he was murdered out of ignorance and hate. I just don't want to have to teach children this young about such evil people yet and about the fact that you can be murdered due to you skin colour.
    I teach a lot about Black History and key figures and role models, but this subject has cause me to come unstuck. I tried to speak to the head, but it was brushed off - as though I should just get on with ot - political correctness comes to mind - I can't have hesitations, I have to think this is a wonderful subject to teach.
    I would like some advice and to know whether people think I am being sill here!
    Thank you.
  2. I'm not a primary teacher, but I don't think you are being silly at all. For the younger kids, especially, they don't really have any context to put it in, so that it might make them unecessary fearful of even waiting for a bus. It is not really the same as Black History where you can focus on people's achievements. It is teaching about a murder. Would you teach such young children about any other murders? I think it is an OK subject for maybe Y5 or Y6, but not for the little ones.
  3. Thank you for this reply. I feel so silly bringing it up - it's like it's only me who sees it this way (or admits to it). You have described how I feel perfectly. I am used to celebrating achievement and teaching about strong, forward thinking people. Not cold blooded brutal and evil murder.
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    What is the Stephen Lawrence award?

    Can you just gloss over it a bit with the children? Sort of say that the school is hoping to get an award because.... and that the award is named after a boy who was killed because people didn't like the colour of his skin. How silly is THAT? However, as often happens good does come out of bad and ............. have set up this award so that other children can ......' and leave it at that.

    I can see that if your school is going to have an award named after someone the children should have a passing knowledge of who the person is. But they don't need details.
  5. Having googled it, it seems to be a local initiative in your area. Why not contact colleagues in other primary schools and share ideas?
  6. Cervinia

    Cervinia Occasional commenter

    Why do you need to teach about the murder simply because it's named after a murdered boy?
    Surely teaching about integration and acceptance would be much more effective if it focused more on positives than negatives.
    Also, I see nothing in the aims/values of the award itself that states that the murder of Stephen Lawrence himself needs to be much of the content of the teaching.
    <h1>About the award</h1>
    The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard is unique to Leeds. It was developed in partnership between Education Leeds, the Leeds City Council and Black and Minority community representatives, in response to the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and the publication of the Macpherson Inquiry Report into Stephen&rsquo;s death in 1999.

    The Standard was launched in 2003, evolving from a competitive award established in 2000, the award was the first of its kind in the country and was designed to:

    • Acknowledge and celebrate existing good practice in promoting race equality and achievement in schools.
    • Encourage all schools to place a commitment to racial equality at the centre of their curriculum, policy and practice.
    • Provide a focus for race equality initiatives in schools across the city.
    • Provide an opportunity for schools to share effective practice.
    The aims of the Standard:

    • To develop effective leadership, and a whole-school approach, which embeds race equality into the life of the school.
    • To make sure that the duties of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 are fulfilled.
    • To examine policies and their outcomes, and to guard against causing disadvantage for any section of our communities.
    • To acknowledge and celebrate existing good practice in promoting race equality and ethnic minority achievement in schools.
    • To empower children and young people to become responsible citizens of the world.
    • To improve outcomes for children, young people and adults in our schools.

    Benefits of the Standard

    • Improved outcomes for children and young people.
    • Prepares children and young people to become responsible citizens of the world, working to bring about peace.
    • The clear link to school self-evaluation helps to clarify the vision and goals for race equality and school improvement.
    • A clear framework and support to develop, champion, and embed race equality and community cohesion work in schools.
    • Professional development, personal growth, coaching and empowerment are essential parts of the standard.
    • It encourages innovation, partnerships and the engagement of all stakeholders, as well as networking across the city.
    • Schools in mainly white settings benefit enormously from the framework and approach to race equality and community cohesion.
    • Provides models of good practice for dissemination within the city, nationally and internationally.
  7. Thank you for your views.
    I agree with what the standard says - the teaching about the murder is coming from SLT as they want the children to know exactly who he is and why he has been in the news.

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