School criticised for using ‘slaves auctions’ as an History exercise

A school has received a huge backlash for telling its pupils to ‘pretend to buy slaves’ in its History curriculum.

Year 8 pupils at Rochester Grammar School in Kent had to ‘work out how many slaves they would be able to buy with £100, and how many they would need for their ‘business’.

The worksheet was posted by the angry and disgusted Cheryl Phoenix on Facebook.

Source: Cheryl Phoenix, Facebook

Martin Thomasson, commenting on the post on our Facebook page said: “I understand schools are under pressure to squeeze as much educational value out of each project as they can, but… Surely someone at this ‘mulitcultural’ school could have foreseen this worksheet’s ethical pitfalls?”

A spokesperson for Rochester Grammar told Metro.co.uk: “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.”

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