A short review of how the new guidance on political impartiality in schools has added nothing to the fight against the abhorrent teaching of critical race theory.
The importance of stopping the extreme antiwhite indoctrination happening in our schools cannot be overstated. “…there’s a realistic danger that this could tip over into harassment of individual pupils” – in turn potentially infringing the Equality Act.
“It’s the fact they’re being browbeaten and told how awful they are which is likely to have an impact on [white] students. Certainly we’re seeing parents saying their kids are exhausted, defeated, depressed [over activist teaching on racism].” Bryn Harris, chief legal counsel at the Free Speech Union referring to the Brighton and Hove CRT Training .
The recent increase in attention the teaching of critical race theory in schools has been receiving at government level, and the issuing of new guidance by the Department for Education, should bode well for a long overdue end to the antiwhite indoctrination of both teachers and pupils. But does it?
It would seem the guidance was written in response to pressure by, among others, Conservative MPs and Peers belonging to the ‘common sense group’, who called antiwhite teacher training ‘sinister’ and ‘harmful’. Yet a charitable reading of the guidance suggests it has missed the opportunity to address the issue of critical race theory being taught in our schools. A less charitable reading suggests the government lacks the will to tackle the problem.
The Guidance – overview
The guidance on political impartiality in schools, published on 17th February 2022 explains schools’ legal duties on political impartiality. It identifies those legally responsible for maintaining political impartiality as local authorities; school proprietors; governing bodies; academy trusts; and headteachers and executive leaders for maintained schools and academies. The guidance does not include any new statutory requirements.
It sets out school’s legal duties on impartiality and identifies the relevant legislation:
In defining what “prohibit the promotion of” partisan political views means in practice, the guidance makes clear that discussing partisan political views is allowed, but these must be presented in a balanced way with opposing views also covered. What is prohibited is the promotion of partisan political views to pupils so as to encourage them to support or adopt these views.
The guidance identifies “partisan political views” as views that further the interests of a particular partisan group, be it a campaign group, lobbyist, charitable organisation or political party; or that seek to change the law, government policy, or the practices and behaviors of individuals.
It holds that not all views related to ethical debates are political issues and uses, as an example, challenging discrimination, prejudice and racism. The guidance states that these are shared principles and as such are not covered by the impartiality requirements:
In between the clearly ‘partisan political views’ and the ‘shared principles’ are the inevitable grey areas. The guidance highlights that ultimately school leaders and teachers will need to use reasonable judgement to determine what is and what is not a ‘political issue’. Senarios are detailed in the guidance to help schools make these judgements.
This is where the missed opportunity becomes starkly apparent.
The subject matter for the scenarios in the guidance on political impartiality in schools are summarised below. A wide range of subject areas are covered but not once is critical race theory or its core beliefs, including white privilege, white fragility or inherited racial guilt referred to:
- A – Climate change and the scientific facts and evidence
- B – Ongoing humanitarian crisis and whether the UK should intervene militarily
- C – Political events from previous historical periods
- D – Teaching exclusively about a single political ideology, such as socialism or conservatism
- E – Upcoming general election and key policies in political parties’ manifestos
- F – Covering significant political figures for younger pupils
- G – Online resource designed to support teaching about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Sensitive Political Issues
- H – Decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK,
- I – BLM in connection with racism*
Choosing External Agencies
- J – External speaker on racism*
- K – Anniversary of women’s suffrage in the UK
Hosting External Agencies
- L – Global trade, a school invites an external agency
- M – Working with charities that separately campaign in favour of partisan political views
Discussing Political Issues
- N – Construction of a new motorway in the local area
Political Action by Pupils
- O – Environmental issues and attending protests
During Political Events
- P – Inviting local political figures
- Q – Discussing protests following from an international diplomatic incident
Public Displays and Communication
- R – ‘Thank You NHS’
Concerns raised about Impartiality by parents and others
- S – Action following a complaint*
*Scenarios considered in more detail later in the article.
The absence of any reference to CRT in these scenarios is notable. Given that the government has already clearly stated that teaching white privilege and inherited white guilt is breaking the law; given that the guidance appears to have been initiated because of the teaching of critical race theory in schools; it’s extremely difficult to understand this omission.
As concerning, is that the guidance makes great play of the need to teach children about racism. The definition of racism used by schools that teach critical race theory is that it is absolutely bound up with power. They identify power as resting with White people and White society, therefore Whites cannot be victims of racism. The stated belief that Whites are inherently racist, goes hand in hand with this.
Where the guidance could have brought clarity, it has instead created a tangled web which, unless we fight against it, the upholders of CRT will use to further their antiwhite ambitions.
The Guidance – racism and CRT
Below are the two scenarios that most closely touch on critical race theory. Scenario I refers to ‘some of those associated’ with BLM advocating on how government resources are used. It makes clear that children should not be taught that funding should be withdrawn from the police, as this is a partisan political view. The guidance takes a step forward in protecting the police, how about protecting children?
Scenario J could be interpreted as relating to a CRT speaker. The advice given to schools is couched in ‘may’ and ‘likely’ and ‘consider’.
The Guidance – raising concerns
Towards the end of the document the guidance deals with addressing concerns by parents and others. It promotes an informal engagement and urges dialogue to reach agreement on the way forward. Given that the teaching of CRT is illegal this seems a rather relaxed and low key way of dealing with it. The guidance also overlooks the strategic nature of the teaching of CRT, which frequently goes way beyond on errant teacher. In the case of Brighton and Hove it is being led by the council, under a five year programme.
The guidance highlights that “Where parents and carers remain dissatisfied, they can raise a formal complaint, in line with the school’s complaints procedure.”
It’s illegal but you’d never know
“We don’t want to see teachers teaching their white pupils about white privilege and inherited white guilt. And let me be clear, any school which teaches these elements of critical race theory, as fact, or which promotes partisan political idea such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law. Kemi Badenoch MP and Equalities Minister, October 2020
Teaching CRT as fact is illegal. It’s standard practice to prosecute individuals or organisations who break the law. Prosecutions uphold the law, and set the expectation that such practices will not be tolerated. This guidance fails to refer to CRT at all, but also talk about informal engagement and dialogue to address issues to impartiality. There is no reference to how impartiality will be enforced, nor of the implications for schools of law breaking.
It’s interesting that in a school environment, where impressionable young minds are so vulnerable, there is such a reluctance to prosecute wrong doing. Would the same be true if any other race than Whites were the subject of vilification? If Black or Asian children were made to feel guilty about the colour of their skin or the actions of their race or their ancestors?
Published 23 February 2022
Pamphlet by the Department of Education “What you need to know about political impartiality in schools”