Arts & Culture
Subnormal: A British Scandal
20 May 2021
Online | Free
BBC One & iPlayer
Subnormal: A British Scandal is a BBC One documentary about why Black children in the 1960s and 1970s were disproportionately sent to special schools for having ‘lower intelligence’ and labelled ‘educationally subnormal’.
A blatant case of institutional racism, it was a deliberate method of removing Black children from the mainstream education system.
The idea for the documentary originated from Steve McQueen while he was working on the Small Axe anthology drama “Education”. The documentary has been produced by Rogan Productions, Lammas Park and Turbine Studios.
This damning documentary exposes a shameful chapter in British history, examining one of the biggest scandals in the history of British education, Subnormal: A British Scandal tells the story of how Black parents, teachers and activists banded together to expose this injustice and force the education system to change.
The programme features devastating contributions from some of the people who were mislabelled. They talk about how the whole experience instilled within them deep-seated feelings of shame and a terrible lack of self-esteem. They have struggled with that pain for decades. And this scandalous practice isn’t a relic from the past, it’s still happening now.
Subnormal: A British Scandal airs on Thursday 20th May, 9pm, BBC One and will be available on BBC iPlayer.
Watch Executive Producer Steve McQueen discuss the documentary with director Lyttanya Shannon, executive producer James Rogan and senior producer Helen Bart.
All images courtesy BBC