Teaching of 'white privilege' is 'rife' in schools, MPs are warned

Teaching of ‘white privilege’ is ‘rife’ in schools, MPs are warned as dossier reveals pupils are being given ‘politically biased’ lessons on police, racism and colonialism

  • The Free Speech Union has claimed teaching of ‘white privilege’ is rife in schools
  • It has submitted a dossier to the Department for Education highlighting individual examples within 15 different schools
  • Education Secretary says schools must not  teach ‘white privilege’ as a fact
  • It follows parliamentary report that white working-class pupils have been ‘let down’ by England’s education system for decades
  • MPs have been warned that teaching of ‘white privilege’ is ‘rife’ in schools following a dossier that revealed pupils are being given ‘politically based’ lessons on police, racism and colonialism.

    Teachers are facing accusations of introducing pupils to ‘politically based’ learning materials in lessons about racism, colonialism and the police.

    Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi earlier this month warned against schools teaching about ‘white privilege’ as if it were fact and said it was a ‘contested view’ that could push ‘partisan’ politics on to pupils.

    His intervention came in response to a report by the Commons education committee, which said that teaching white privilege could be against the Equality Act. 

    Britain's Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi warned against schools teaching about 'white privilege' as if it were fact earlier this month

    Britain’s Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi warned against schools teaching about ‘white privilege’ as if it were fact earlier this month

    A stock picture of GCSE students putting up their hands in class. The Free Speech Union has submitted a dossier to the Department for Education highlighting cases within individual schools

    A stock picture of GCSE students putting up their hands in class. The Free Speech Union has submitted a dossier to the Department for Education highlighting cases within individual schools

    The report added that telling children they are different because of their race is unlawful 

    However, a dossier submitted to Mr Zahawi this week included details of cases in which schools around the country have allegedly partaken in ‘politicised teaching’, reports The Telegraph.

    The Free Speech Union’s file contained references to examples within 15 different schools across England. 

    One such example was highlighted at the Piggott School in Berkshire, where parents are said to have raised concerns about a classroom resource named ‘A kid-friendly guide to social justice terms’.

    A worksheet referred to police as ‘workers chosen by, protecting and serving people in power’, and racism as ‘rules, ideas, and actions that target people of colour to keep them under the control of those who already have racial power’.

    The dossier added that pupils at the school were also taught that ‘micro-aggressions’ are a form of ‘unintended’ discrimination.

    This can include asking someone from an ethnic minority about their English skills or informing them that their hair would ‘look good if it was straight’.

    Tory MP Jonathon Gullis said earlier this month that the phrase ‘white privilege’ is racist and extremist.

    Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathon Gullis (pictured left with Jacob Rees-Mogg in Stoke-on-Trent) defended his view that the phrase 'white privilege' is racist and extremist - and that teachers who use it should be disciplined and reported to the government's counter-terror programme as extremists

    Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathon Gullis (pictured left with Jacob Rees-Mogg in Stoke-on-Trent) defended his view that the phrase ‘white privilege’ is racist and extremist – and that teachers who use it should be disciplined and reported to the government’s counter-terror programme as extremists

    Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathon Gullis said in a statement he had been told 'lefty Twitter is in meltdown' because he said the use of the term in schools, colleges and university's is extremist

    Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathon Gullis said in a statement he had been told ‘lefty Twitter is in meltdown’ because he said the use of the term in schools, colleges and university’s is extremist

    The  Stoke-on-Trent North MP also said teachers that use it should be disciplined and reported to the government’s counter-terror programme as extremists.

    In a statement, he added he had been told ‘lefty Twitter is in meltdown’ because he said the use of the term in schools, colleges and university’s is extremist.

    The Free Speech Union dossier also gave reference to Chesnut Grove Academy in Balham, where it said pupils were given a worksheet which asked ‘what is the purpose of a police officers?’ before a section containing ‘key words’ which were ‘colonies, racial profiling, juvinile [sic], corruption, reform, accountability’.

    A teacher at a secondary school in Kent is also understood to have compared former US president Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler during a history lesson, according to the dossier.

    At another secondary school in Lewisham, south London, pupils were told that they were ‘privileged by virtue of being white’.

    The same students were also told that the police ‘must be reformed’ and that students ‘should engage in protest’, the dossier adds. 

    It follows a landmark parliamentary report in June that which found that white working-class pupils have been ‘let down’ for decades by England’s education system – and that promoting ideas of ‘white privilege’ makes the situation worse.

    The Tory-dominated Commons Education Select Committee, chaired by Robert Halfon MP, said white working-class pupils are one of the worst-achieving groups in the country and ‘feel anything but privileged’.

    A Department for Education spokesperson said: ‘Schools are required to remain politically impartial, and should be mindful of the need to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views when political issues are brought to the attention of pupils.

    ‘We expect that in most instances, where there are concerns regarding political impartiality in schools, these can be addressed through dialogue and agreement on simple mitigations.’ 

    The Free Speech Union has been contacted for comment, but a tweet on Sunday called on the Government to tackle the issue ‘before it gets completely out of hand’.

    It said: ‘Schools should be exposing children to a wide diversity of views and encouraging them to debate and make up their own minds, not teaching a narrow ideology as fact.

    ‘The Government needs to tackle this problem before it gets completely out of control.’ 

    Piggott School and Chesnut Grove Academy have also been contacted for comment.

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