St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School
St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School has apologised for any offence caused Google Maps

A primary school in east London has apologised after it asked parents and carers to dress their children up as slaves wearing "dirty and worn out clothes" for Black History Month.

St Winefride's Catholic Primary School in Newham sent a letter informing parents that there would be a special assembly as part of a series of events to mark Black History Month. It suggested not to wash their children's clothes and possibly "stain them with tea or coffee to look more authentic".

The letter also encouraged girls to wear fabric head wraps and the boys to come in with straw hats or berets. Parents described their anger at the school for suggesting they dress up their children as slaves.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, told the Newham Recorder: "You wouldn't ask Jewish children to come in and re-enact the Holocaust."

Headteacher Paul Underwood apologised on behalf of his school for the "unauthorised letter" believed to have been sent by a rogue teacher and which was not seen by senior members of staff beforehand.

A spokesperson for the school added: "We deeply regret the offence caused to our pupils and school community. This letter was sent out without the approval of the school's senior management team or governors.

"We have written to those who received the letter to apologise and we have also spoken to the members of staff involved and taken steps to ensure an incident like this does not happen again. We understand the importance of Black History Month and celebrate this by studying the success and achievements of black role models.

"The content of this letter is not in keeping with the ethos of the school or a reflection of how the school celebrates Black History Month."