UK: Left Furious at Ban on Teaching Anti-Capitalism at Schools

schools
ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

The government has been accused of “extreme Conservative authoritarianism” after guidance advised schools to promote freedom of speech and not to use teaching materials produced by groups which call for an end to capitalism.

The document, published by the Department for Education last week, instructed that schools “should not under any circumstances” work with agencies or materials that “promote extreme positions”, including anti-capitalism along with support for illegal activity, racism, and opposition to freedom of speech.

“This is the case even if the material itself is not extreme, as the use of it could imply endorsement or support of the organisation,” the document says.

Former shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, whose Labour Party is currently working across the country to tear down historical statues and monuments deemed insufficiently respectful to ‘diversity’, declared the education guidance “another step in the culture war”.

Claiming that the rules will make it “illegal to refer to large tracts of British history and politics including the history of British socialism”, the left-wing figure told The Guardian on Sunday that “this drift towards extreme Conservative authoritarianism is gaining pace and should worry anyone who believes that democracy requires freedom of speech and an educated populace”.

McDonnell was joined by fellow Labour MP Beth Winter, who called the guidance “sinister and alarming”, in a tweet claiming that the move was “symptomatic of the growing authoritarianism at the heart of the Conservative Party”.

The Department of Education guidelines, produced to help teachers plan relationships and sex education (RSE) lessons, also attracted ire from transgender activists despite the government’s inclusion of controversial new mandates requiring schools to promote homosexuality throughout the curriculum.

After government concern over a 4,400 per cent rise in the number of young girls referred to sex change clinics over the past decade, the guidance advises schools to ditch teaching materials which tell children to question their gender if they are interested in hobbies and clothes usually preferred by the opposite sex.

“You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests or the clothes they prefer to wear,” teachers were told.

“Materials which suggest that non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity should not be used and you should not work with external agencies or organisations that produce such material,” the guidance said.

It adds that “teachers should not suggest to a child that their non-compliance with gender stereotypes means that either their personality or their body is wrong and in need of changing”.

Child sex change campaign group, Mermaids, responded with a claim to have “grave concerns” about the new guidance, alleging it will make it “more difficult for transgender children and young people to identify confidently as themselves”.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.