Politics explained

New teaching guidelines show ministers trying solve a problem that doesn’t exist

New advice on the teaching of sensitive political matters and history in schools is the latest example of the government (at least in England) intervening to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he will bring forward new guidelines to ensure that discussions surrounding politics in lessons are “balanced”.

According to some reports there have been a number of “woke incidents” happening in schools, as if they were outbreaks of Covid or food poisonings. None of them amount to much. One class was encouraged to construct a letter of protest to Boris Johnson about Partygate as an exercise in constructing a case and in democratic accountability; one wonders if a letter aimed at Keir Starmer would have been so shocking to ministers. Johnson is, after all, in power, and so there’s less point in writing to Starmer. Six-year-olds are as capable of being appalled by the prime minister, or admiring him, as 60-year-olds. They are entitled to their opinions.


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