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Should members of the British National Party be allowed to work in schools?

Posted by on Monday 5 October 2009 in

Are we saying that regardless of partymembership, people who holdracist views should not be allowed to beteachers? Does it imply thatthere is otherwise no such thing as aracist teacher? I was atsecondary school in the 1980’s, and have justabout managed to blot outthe memory of a history teacher who used thewords “darkies” and“coloureds” in his lessons on the American civilrights movement. Butthen there was the RE teacher who believed thatAIDS was God’spunishment for homosexuals. Are these the only examplesof teachersletting their personal beliefs sneak into their teaching?Probably not.I reacted at the time with suitable teenage outrage, butthere wereother students who would have agreed with these teachersbeliefs, andthere may have been other students who were gay or lesbianin the classwho would have felt mortified. There weren’t any black orAsianstudents in my history class, which doubtless gave the horriblehistoryteacher a sense of security that his bigoted views would go unchallenged.

I think as a principle, people who are card-carrying members of the BNP should not be allowed to teach, because obviously, if you believe that people “…whose ancestors were the earliest settlers here (in Britain) after the last great Ice Age “ (this is taken from the BNP mission statement)have some kind of precedence over people of other nationalities or ethnic backgrounds, you are slightly mental. I’m all for teachers who are mental in a creative, dynamic, subject-obsessed way, but I draw the line at teachers who believe that it is possible to identify (down to the individual) people who are directly descendedfromwhoever the random migrants were who happened to be wanderingaroundwhat has become the British Isles thousands of years later.

The BNP education policy also lacks a certain detail which is regrettable. Anyone fancy devising a curriculum made up of “old-fashioned literacy skills”, “old-fashioned mathematics skills”,“a full curriculum of British history” (what, all of it?) “therestorationof discipline – including corporal punishment “ and the “re-introduction of competitive sports”?So have competitive sports been banned from schools? What do they mean by “old fashioned” skills in literacy and numeracy? Will they be giving every classroom an abacus?

Being based in Yorkshire, I’m none too proud to have Andrew Bron as an MEP representing my region in the European parliament. He has been a teacher at a college in Harrogate for 40 years teaching politics and law. It is doubtful that he has produced legions of students who have been brainwashed into thinking as he does about the world – thank God for the National Curriculum. Any good teacher will keep their own personal beliefs out of the classroom, and instead focus on making their students into individuals who question ideas, and develop their own conclusions based on a wide variety of resources and opinions. Ed Balls can commission his study, but banning BNP teachers from teaching may only serve to make them into martyrs, and to lie about their political persuasions. As a gesture it sends out the right signals (ie racism isn’t acceptable in public sector settings), but in reality it may well backfire.

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