South London Students Hack 5000 Newspapers to Call on the Government to Mandate the Teaching of…


  • Currently, students in England can go through their entire compulsory education without learning about the atrocities executed by the British Empire
  • Youth led campaign, Fill in the Blanks, perform a stunt to spark debate around the importance of learning colonial history
  • The campaign team dropped 5000 newspapers at twenty different tube stations across London. These mock newspapers are designed to spark a conversation about the power of school curriculum to shape Britain’s values and choices.

On the morning of Thursday 9th January 2020, youth campaign Fill in the Blanks[1] staged a London-wide stunt distributing METRO newspapers claiming the Department for Education announced the teaching of the British Empire as mandatory for all key stage three students. 5000 newspapers have been distributed at 20 London tube stations and on red buses. Locations include Highbury and Islington, Brixton, Euston, Victoria, Sloane Square, London Bridge and Elephant and Castle tube stations.

Fill in the Blanks is led by sixth form students from South London, all of whom have family from former British colonies. The campaign demands the teaching of British colonial history for all students in the UK, where there is currently only one optional insufficient module available. By implementing this curriculum change, British society will have a chance to take accountability for the atrocities performed by, and in the name of, the Empire and ensure they can be avoided as Britain forms its post-Brexit identity.

In 2014, 59% of Brits declared that they were “proud of the British Empire”. But was this with the knowledge of the mass use of concentration camps in the Boer war? Or knowledge of the violence of the partition plan in India, along with the displacement of 10–12 million people and killing of an unknown number? The British Government has systematically absolved itself of responsibility for these crimes. By excluding the full story from the National Curriculum, the Department for Education do not allow the next generation to critically examine the crimes of our past.

Fill in the Blanks is passionate about combatting the violence perpetrated by the governments’ inaction to confront its history. The tide is beginning to change regarding the public’s attitude towards providing a more truthful curriculum in our schools. 69% of adults believe that “historical injustice, colonialism and the role of the British Empire should be taught as part of the national curriculum”. In the 2019 election, Labour’s manifesto acknowledged the importance of educating “around migration and colonialism” especially in teaching “how it interrupted a rich and powerful black history which is also British history”. We must ensure that the teaching of colonial history is a non-partisan issue.

For more information follow @fillinthblanks[2] on Twitter.

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Thursday 9 January 2020


  1. ^ Fill in the Blanks (
  2. ^ @fillinthblanks (
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