The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has withdrawn a “teaching resource” about Palestine which referred to “Jews” as opposed to Israelis, and was criticised as “one sided” and serving an “extremist” agenda.
In a statement on Tuesday the NUT said: “The NUT and Edukid are temporarily withdrawing the jointly developed ‘My Name is Saleh’ teaching resources, which examine the situation of a Palestinian child through the framework of the UN Rights of the Child.
“The NUT remains confident in the materials, but we are always prepared to consider any concerns about publications we have any involvement with.”
However, the union changed its stance today when they acknowledged to the Jewish Chronicle that it might have contravened regulations.
The resource was reported to both the Charities Commission, which said it was investigating the matter, and the Department for Education (DfE).
A DfE spokesperson said on Monday: “The law is crystal clear that all political discussions in school should be unbiased and balanced. Teachers should only use teaching materials which are suitable for their children and we trust them to decide which resources to use in their lessons.
The education pack, which includes short films and literature, was due to be distributed to schools across the UK. It claimed to make children “more knowledgeable and empowered to continue to help others” and “break down stereotypes, and address issues of inequality.”
However, the pack’s appendix features Palestinian children “assaulted by settlers” and the video contains a reference to “Jews,” as opposed to Israelis.
The NUT initially responded to criticism of the material by arguing that alongside the resource they worked “with many organisations, including the Holocaust Educational Trust”.
Conservative MP Andrew Percy was less that impressed with this retort: “The NUT spokesman’s attempt to justify its indefensible document by saying they work with the Holocaust Educational Trust is utterly derisory,” he said.
Continuing: “Those responsible for the education of our young people, like members of the NUT, would want to ensure that their teaching materials are balanced and thoroughly devoid of political messages.
“As a former history teacher, if any of my students produced such a biased piece of work they wouldn’t have expected to pass.”
Sir Eric Pickles, chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, added: “The NUT have well and truly crossed the line as to what is acceptable with this appalling document. Its reference to ‘Jews’ as opposed to ‘Israelis’ is particularly objectionable. I would suggest this pernicious document be withdrawn immediately.”
Tom Wilson, a Research Fellow at policy think-tank The Henry Jackson Society, told Breitbart London on Monday:
“This overtly agenda driven project is a particularly shameless example of political activism masquerading as a legitimate form of education.
“The resource pack purports to provide context and background information. But in many ways it does exactly the opposite; detailing Israeli security measures without ever explaining the security threats that these measures come in response to.”