08/10/2018 13:03 BST | Updated 08/10/2018 13:06 BST

GCSE Text Book Pulled From Shelves After Outcry Over Caribbean 'Stereotyping'

Hodder Education has stopped selling copies of the book following allegations of racism.


The publisher of a GCSE sociology textbook which received widespread criticism for its “offensive” statements about Caribbean families has stopped selling copies following widespread criticism, HuffPost UK can reveal. 

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

Following criticism, a Hodder Education spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We are taking this feedback very seriously; we will be working with the authors and reviewing the entire textbook as a result of the concerns raised.

“Meanwhile we have stopped supplying the book for sale.”

A chapter discussing the sociology of families reads: “In Caribbean families, the fathers and husbands are largely absent and women assume the most responsibility in childrearing.

“When men and women live together, it is usually in cohabiting or common law relationships that reproduce the traditional patriarchal division of labour.

“The family system is also characterised by child-shifting, that is, the passing of children to other relatives or acquaintances if the parents find themselves unable to take care of them. As a result, multiple women are involved in childhood socialisation.”

An AQA spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We absolutely don’t agree with the use of stereotypes and there’s nothing about Caribbean families in our actual GCSE Sociology syllabus.

“We don’t publish any textbooks ourselves, but we’re speaking with the publisher of this book about these concerns and we’re pleased to hear they’ve stopped selling the book while they review it.

“We’re removing the book from the page on our own website where it’s listed as a resource. We’re continuing to investigate and we’ll take any other action that’s necessary.”

Reacting to the textbook on Twitter on Sunday, @MovellDash wrote: “I am disgusted to see that your sociology book contains this kind of stereotyping being taught to children as fact. This rhetoric is at best a stereotype and at worst divisive. Shame on you AQA”

And @Akeko15664091 posted: ”@AQA you need to justify this with the scientific evidence that will give this credence in education OR retract it because it upholds negative stereotypes for young minds just 15/16 years”. 

Research on UK lone parents numbers does not support the statement in the book that says that fathers in black Caribbean homes are “largely” absent.

The lone parent charity Gingerbread, says that 21% of single parents are from Black or minority ethnic backgrounds, compared with 16% nationally. 

The 2011 census revealed that 16.6% of black Caribbean households are lone parents with children, compared with 6.7% of white British households and 22.7% of mixed white British/Caribbean families. But overall number of lone parent families in the UK that are white British far outstrips those of black Caribbean heritage.