17/10/2018 11:57 BST | Updated 20/12/2018 14:53 GMT

Work Begins On New Version Of GCSE Textbook Withdrawn After Accusations Of Racism

'We are taking the comments we have received on our AQA GCSE Sociology textbook very seriously.'

The publisher behind a controversial GCSE textbook that faced a backlash for its offensive statements about ethnic minority groups is to begin working on a brand new edition.

Following a HuffPost UK report published this morning outlining numerous shocking passages, Hodder Education has outlined its plans to re-issue the book.

A spokesperson said: “With regards to your reports on the AQA GCSE Sociology textbook we have made the following decision.

“We are taking the comments we have received on our AQA GCSE Sociology textbook very seriously.  We have now reviewed the full text with our authors and our in house team.”

“We will not be reissuing the current edition but are starting work on a fully revised new edition in conjunction with AQA which will be published next Spring,” they added.

On 7 October, HuffPost UK broke the news that the GCSE sociology textbook had received widespread criticism for its “offensive” statements about Caribbean families. The next day it announced the discontinuation of sales pending further investigation into the matter.

The book, AQA GCSE (9-1) Sociology by Rosie Owens and Ian Woodfield, which was officially approved by the national exam board, had published claims that Caribbean fathers are “largely absent” and said children are passed between relatives. 

This morning, we revealed that the text also claimed that working class children lack “appropriate” attitudes to succeed in education.

“Working-class children often lack the appropriate attitudes, norms and values that are necessary to succeed in education,” it states.

Elsewhere in the text, it was stated that EAL pupils underachieve because English isn’t their first language - yet studies show that they outperform native speakers.

“For many children, English is not their first language. This place them at an immediate disadvantage because all their lessons in school will be in English,” it reads.

The publisher also announced this news on Twitter amid a wave of criticism from some users.

Tee wrote: “Good start but your authors and in-house team failed miserably on your current edition reinforcing institutional racism and classism. So which INDEPENDENT organisations & academics will you work with to ensure the new edition is free of racism and classism?”

Basit Mahmood wrote: “Sadly, I hear sweeping cultural generalisations like this all the time, especially when it comes to Pakistani and Bangladeshi children. They’re compared as ‘lazy’ to their Indian counterparts, with no acknowledgement of other factors playing a part.” 

Hollie Richardson said: “And this is where that life-long sense of shame starts in our schools.” 

Maria Petnga-Wallace, mentioning the Department for Education and Shadow Secretary of State for Education, posted: “I feel this book (available since 2014) and many others are reflective of our curriculum which needs a complete overhaul @educationgovuk@AngelaRayner"


In addition to comments about class and ethnicity, the book also makes sweeping generalisations about African and Chinese families.

“The typical Chinese family is a strongly patriarchal (male-dominated) arrangement based in the three rules of obedience: a daughter obeys her father, a married woman obeys her husband, a widow obeys her son.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, individuals belong to a wide kinship network rather than a single family unit,” it continues. “If a wife does not have children then she can be replaced and the husband can take another wife,” the passage reads.

Further down, the authors assert that the value given to education is linked to ethnicity. 

“Different ethnic groups place different levels of importance on education. Some groups, such as Indian and Chinese, see education as important and encourage children to work hard, whereas, other ethnic groups may not show the same commitment to education,” it says.

Approved by AQA, the text was originally published in 2014.

HuffPost UK contacted the exam board for information about its auditing process as regards to approving books by third party publishers.

A spokesperson said: “Our approval process has never been intended as an endorsement of all the content in a textbook. It’s more about things like making sure the structure of a textbook matches the structure of our syllabus, rather than looking at all the language used.”