Rochester Grammar School in Kent, South England have been criticised for asking pupils to take part in a fictional slave auction as part of a history lesson. The school’s Year 8 pupils were given a worksheet and told to pretend they had £100 to bid on the sort of slave they consider their business will need.
The worksheet, currently trending on social media, has descriptions like ‘5 Yoruba males in good condition, 1 Ibo slave, 2 Krumen male slave, 2 Chamba slaves, 2 Mandingo slaves”. Some Parents have criticized the school for what they describe as an inappropriate, racist worksheet they feel is psychologically damaging.
The school has however defended the exercise, which they claim forms part of the Department for Education’s history curriculum. A school spokesman told Kent Online:
“We categorically condemn slavery and racism of any kind, whether historic or present, and are extremely proud of our multi-cultural school, and the tolerant and inclusive atmosphere that we foster every day to ensure all our students are well-rounded young people. This worksheet is not used in maths but in the wider context of our history curriculum which follows the Historical Association’s recommendations on teaching historical slavery, and is in line with the Department for Education’s history curriculum which says students should be taught about the effects and eventual abolition of the slave trade. This means we absolutely teach students about the horrors of the slave trade, and the worksheet adapts primary sources of the time to illustrate the awful reality of slavery. We also include additional lessons on the horrors of the Middle Passage and life on plantations.”