ASCL response to Khan review into social cohesion

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Khan review into social cohesion and resilience in England.
“As this report finds, there are significant challenges that impact upon social cohesion and the wellbeing of our democracy. Schools and colleges play a pivotal role in dealing with these challenges and promoting community cohesion. They do an amazing job of managing sensitive and complex situations in an age of polarised views fanned by the flames of social media. They are the glue that holds communities together and deserve a great deal of credit for this work.
“We agree with the principle that protests should not take place immediately outside schools because schools should be protected as safe spaces for children to learn. We are aware that local authorities already have powers to restrict protests outside schools and we are also conscious that the right to protest is protected under the European Convention on Human Rights. More detail would therefore be needed on this proposal to understand how it would operate in practice and how it would be enforced. 
“The idea of a cohesion and conflict unit to provide schools with guidance, training materials and resources, along with support and care for schools and teachers who find themselves threatened and harassed, sounds helpful. However, this would again require further thought about how this would complement and work alongside existing advice and support systems.”