Advanced Television

Channel 4 commissions Troy Deeney – Where’s My History?

April 8, 2022

Birmingham City FC Captain Troy Deeney’s high profile campaign to make the teaching of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories and experiences mandatory in the school curriculum will be featured in a new sixty-minute documentary to be aired next month on Channel 4 and produced by SBX Studios.

Frustrated by the lack of diversity taught in schools and the impact it is having on pupils, Deeney wrote an open letter to the Secretary of State for Education, set up a public petition – which has now surpassed 50,000 signatures – and commissioned a YouGov survey.

The YouGov survey of 1000 primary and secondary school teachers from across Britain found that only 12% of teachers said they felt empowered to teach ‘optional’ black related topics.

“As the proud father of four children, three of which are currently in the education system, this topic has moved front and centre in my life. I have seen more and more how important it is for my children to be able to see themselves represented in what they are being taught and learn about the contribution and background of people who look like them,” says Deeney.

“The current system is failing children from ethnic minorities and over the past 18 months nearly 400,000 people have signed petitions calling for changes to be made to mandate more diversity in the national curriculum, yet the teaching of diversity in schools still remains optional and the government’s stock response has been that it is down to teachers and schools to teach them,” he says.

“The importance of education at an early age to inform identity and combat racist beliefs and stereotypes cannot be understated.”

His Open Letter to the Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi, Secretary of State for Education has led to a meeting. Deeney and Zahawi discuss the future actions and potential solutions necessary to make real change.

The documentary not only recounts Deeney’s own troubled schooling experiences with his family, but also meetings with prominent contributors such as boxer Anthony Joshua, actor David Harewood MBE, ex-footballer and pundit Micah Richards, musicians Big Narstie and DJ Cuppy and MP Layla Moran, as well as young activists campaigning for change, teachers and pupils in schools around the country and voices of strong opposing views.

“I have met some amazing people throughout this journey who have made it their lives work to make real change in this area. I have been inspired and enlightened and this is just the start of this journey,” says Deeney.

Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor Joe Blake-Turner says: “Troy Deeney & SBX Studios have embarked on a project that has the power to transform education in this country and have a really positive long-term impact on society.”

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