The home office has launched a new briefing document for headteachers on how to spot the tell-tale signs of early radicalisation among pupils – but the advice contained seems so remarkably obvious it begs the question why the note was written at all.
Among the helpful advice is a list of key phrases used by fans of the Islamic State (ISIS) that teaching staff should look out for among pupils, including ‘Caliphate’ and ‘Jihad’, phrases staff could find in any daily newspaper. For teachers who are unfamiliar with the internet, yet somehow expected to detect extremism among youth who can use it almost exclusively to disseminate information and share ideas, the briefing note also contains a helpful guide to social media.
Among other revelations are the crucial facts that “ISIL supporters use Facebook to share content”, “Twitter is another popular social media platform”, and that “YouTube is also used to host videos”.
Chris McGovern, retired headmaster and chairman of the Campaign for Real Education reacted with concern to the document, telling Breitbart London:
“It is worrying that the Government needs to provide schools with an information about ISIL and about social media that should already be known and understood.
“Alarmingly, the document totally ignores how schools themselves are radicalising pupils. This is the consequence of requiring schools to teach tolerance, respect and understanding of the beliefs of others even if they disagree with those beliefs”.
McGovern told Breitbart that cultural relativism in schools left children believing they can pick and choose morals, civilisations, and cultural norms as if they were foods at a buffet. He said:
“In the classroom this translates into giving equal validity and merit to, for example, western liberal democracy on the one hand and the religious fundamentalism of ISIL on the other. This ‘value-relativism’ underpins the ‘British Values’ agenda that schools are now required to promote and has been saturating our schools for some years.
“Through this agenda, and unwittingly, the Government is doing more to radicalise children than to de-radicalise them. The new advice that has been sent to schools is no more than a bit of useless ‘window dressing’ that will conceal rather than confront the of radicalisation. It is pitifully inadequate”.
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