Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the Department for Education press release about new guidance to be published on Thursday to support teachers in tackling sensitive issues in the classroom in a politically impartial way.
“It has never been more important to facilitate and encourage discussions about political and contemporaneous issues as it is now. Young people are exposed to a swirl of misinformation online, and an increasingly toxic discourse on social media as well as in political debate among those who should know better. Schools have a vital role in providing a safe space in which young people can examine and understand controversial issues.
“The vast majority of teachers are very good at managing these discussions in a way that is balanced and impartial. We welcome anything which helps them to navigate this difficult territory. However, we are keen that this should not be over-prescriptive as it could have the unintended consequence of deterring open discussions.
“We will be studying the guidance carefully to understand its implications.”