GCSE Migration History Module from OCR in the Press (Jan 2016)

From September 2016, a new History of Migration module will be introduced into schools.  This is a major development and recognises that migration has been a feature of the History of Britain for more than 2000 years.

There has inevitably been a back-lash that can be seen in the Daily Telegraph from 8 days ago labelling the idea that Africans were in Roman Britain as ‘disturbing’ or even ‘dangerous’ with the suggestion that this was not an ‘authentic’ history.  The Daily Express chipped in as well.

However, if we roll-back-the-clock to 2010, there was press-coverage of the finding of Africans in Roman Britain in for example to name three: the Daily Mail or the BBC or the Guardian in 2010, amongst others.

The new research findings come from the chemical analysis of teeth and bone of skeletons. Teeth are formed in childhood and reflect the chemistry of the place, in which that person grew-up; whereas bone will reflect the chemistry of where the person was in the period running up to their death.  This is data-led research and the findings clearly point to Africans living in Britain prior to the development of the English language.  What OCR is doing is presenting teenagers with an up-to-date authentic history of Britain.  The research is published and very much in the public domain, as can be seen from this link.

What is clear from the coverage by the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express shows not so much how there is propaganda, but how the use of this new evidence for GCSE is denounced as some sort of ‘pro-immigration propaganda’ – a big contrast to the coverage of the science behind the findings five years ago.

What is ‘dangerous and disturbing’ is that there would seem to be some pretty eminent historians quoted in these pieces, who really do need to look at the published evidence for what OCR are presenting to students in their migration to Britain module.

Ray Laurence