UK rolls out new ‘political impartiality’ guidance for schools — Analysis

On how to deal with issues like the Israeli-Palestinian war and the British Empire legacy, teachers were given advice

UK teachers were instructed to deal with sensitive issues in their classrooms in a political neutral manner and not give children views that contradict fundamental social norms. 

According to the education ministry, the guidance that was published Thursday will help teachers deal with issues like the conflict between Israel and Palestine as well as the legacy of British Empire. 

The document states that teachers should not endorse partisan politics and provide balanced information when speaking with students. The report states that educators should make it clear to students that racism is not acceptable in our society. “should avoid advocating for specific organizations that have widely contested aims or views.”  

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The guidance also recommends that teachers stick to facts when teaching historical figures, rather than contested legacy. Teachers should be able to focus on the best-known aspects of individuals. 

Some of these figures include Admiral Nelson Nelson and Winston Churchill. James Watt, a steam engine pioneer, may also fall under this umbrella, as they were criticised in the aftermath of Black Lives Matter. 

“I don’t want there to be any barriers – real or perceived – to teachers’ vital work in this space, which is why I am reinforcing that no subject is off-limits in the classroom,”Nadhim Zhawi, education secretary, said it in a statement. 

But he said that every subject had to be “treated in an age-appropriate way, with sensitivity and respect, and without promoting contested theories as fact.”

Schools should also ensure that they vet speakers and groups who are invited to speak to children. According to the government, teachers should inform students that speakers or visitors may be biased. 

A short booklet has been provided by the Department for Education, which provides more information for teachers about how to deal with tricky subjects.

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