Multicultural Education in the UK

  • Created by: eBUNe2
  • Created on: 10-12-18 13:49

Multicultural Education in the UK

Sourced From: Sociology Factsheet

The cultural and ethnic landscape has changed significantly in the UK in the past 50 years and this has had a huge influence on different aspects of society.

The 2011 census showed that the black and minority ethnic population (BME) in the UK doubled since the 2001 census and by 2011 made up 13% of the UK population.

Banks and Banks (2010) explained: ‘The growth of the population of ethnic, racial, linguistic, and religious minorities within the Western nations is increasing at a much faster rate than are mainstream groups, the population of England has been increasing, so has the population of its minorities, even at a faster pace. It can be concluded that the composition of the UK population represents the profile of a multicultural country, not a monocultural country.’

In London alone, there are over 40 national or ethnic groups, speaking more than 300 hundred languages.

This increase in multiculturalism presents challenges for society, not least the education of all young people

Multiculturalism is defined by Harper (2010) as the co-existence of multiple cultural traditions resulting from immigration, amalgamation or geographical explanation.

Although the cultural and ethnic membership varies from one school to another, the current composition of many UK schools tends to reflect that of the local population. However, Local Authority Statistics show that 61% of children from minority ethnic groups in England now enter schools where BME pupils make up the majority of the school population. The figures also confirm that the number of pupils whose first language is not English is around 17% of state primary schools and 13% of state secondary schools.

This changing composition of schools and the language spoken inside schools adds challenges in providing an appropriate curriculum that reflects ethnic, cultural and religious membership of the school and of Britain.

Multicultural Education

Multicultural education should reflect the student body, as well as promote understanding of diversity to the dominant culture and be inclusive, visible, celebrated and tangible. Multicultural education is appropriate for everyone.

According to Banks (2013), ‘a major goal of multicultural education is to change teaching and learning approaches so that students of both genders and from diverse cultural, ethnic, and


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