Primary school pupils should be taught about white privilege, religious education (RE) teachers have been told in new curriculum guidance. 

Lessons should introduce children aged 8-11 to the “key concept” of white privilege, described as invisible benefits that society affords to people “because of their whiteness”, according to the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE). 

The national representative body’s “anti-racist” curriculum also recommends primary pupils learn about “reasons why Bristol’s statue of Edward Colston was racially offensive”. It links to a webpage on Sikh support for Black Lives Matter, who toppled it. 

The materials, seen by The Telegraph, are designed to help schools include black, Asian and ethnic minority people in RE syllabuses, which are determined locally unlike other subjects. 

Primary teachers are also urged to recognise their own unconscious bias in class, as it “can make it hard for some to identify systemic racism”.

An attached glossary of key ideas for RE teachers cites put-downs and jokes as microaggressions that can “reinforce white power”, and adds: “It’s important to engage with the idea that racism is a problem for white people, rather than for black people.”

A section on the legacies of slavery tells teachers “the complicity of Christians in the enslavement of millions is an untold story” because of the “sugar coating” of Christian history which has a “shameful stain” of the Atlantic slave trade. 

But on Tuesday, experts questioned whether the guide was appropriate. 

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester between 1994 and 2009, said: “The situation in the educational institutions is that white working class boys are at the bottom of the pile. So what does it mean to teach them that they are privileged?”

He said there was “no question” that Christians were instrumental in the abolition of slavery but that schools have a “presumption” to dwell on the negative. 

Toby Young, of the Free Speech Union, added: “Teachers and teaching associations think that telling children Britain is a racist country is an incontestable fact, even though, according to international survey evidence, Britain is one of the least racist countries in the world.”

A spokesperson for NATRE said: “One of the roles of RE is to help pupils discuss, debate, and analyse important, topical questions in order to come to their own conclusions from a point of knowledge. All our resources are designed to help teachers tackle these issues and concepts in a balanced way.”