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Rochester Grammar School defends ‘disgusting’ worksheet asking pupils to pretend to buy slaves

PUBLISHED: 11:03 12 July 2017

Rochester Grammar School has come under fire for a history worksheet

Rochester Grammar School has come under fire for a history worksheet

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The school says the document is in line with the Department for Education’s history curriculum

Rochester Grammar School has defended a worksheet which sparked fury on social media by asking pupils to pretend to buy slaves.

The task, set in a Year 8 history lesson, told students to imagine they were at an auction and calculate how many slaves they would be able to buy with £100, and how many they would need for their ‘business’.

Sixteen lots were listed on the worksheet, where it described the slaves for auction, and encouraged pupils to examine their characteristics.

Descriptions included “5 Yoruba boys aged between 9 and 11” and “2 Fanti, 1 male, 1 female. 18 years old. Straight from Africa. Very strong and nimble”.

Another read: “2 Chamba slaves. 1 male, 1 female. At 28, they offer good breeding potential”.

The worksheet caused outrage on social media, with parents describing it as “disgusting”, “awful” and “racist nonsense”.

However, the school, last year ranked the 10th best state secondary in the south east in The Sunday Times Parent Power guide, has defended the document.

A spokesperson for the school said: “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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