BRITAIN’S “disastrous foreign policy” is responsible for the rise in extremism among young people, teachers said yesterday.
A motion arguing that the government’s counter-extremist Prevent strategy “could destroy relationships between teachers and learners” was unanimously passed by TUC Congress.
Moved by teaching union NASUWT, it said that provisions requiring teachers to spy on and report pupils at risk of being polarised would “close down space for open discussion in a safe and secure environment and smother the legitimate expression of political opinion.”
It follows concerns over the government’s handling of the allegations of a “Trojan horse” plot to teach extremist viewpoints in predominantly Muslim schools in Birmingham throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) delegate Hank Roberts noted that new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn could find himself banged up under the government’s rules, after he was branded a “threat to national security” by Prime Minister David Cameron.
“By law I’d have to report his extremist views to the police,” Mr Roberts remarked. “I’d have to report myself as well.
“The UK’s disastrous foreign policy has exacerbated the radicalisation of children.”
National Union of Teachers (NUT) deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney called for anti-racist work to be at the heart of education.
And he said that trying to tackle issues such as sexual grooming in schools would be ineffective.
“Most of this grooming happens in private — in bedrooms, on social media accounts,” he said.