Commenting on the report from the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism, ‘Tackling extremism in the UK’, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union said:
“The Coalition Government must take forward the very serious concerns that have previously been identified about the threat of extremism, including racist extremism, in all schools.
“The Coalition has failed to honour the commitment given previously to review how extremist organisations are specifically targeting schools and young people.
“The intention to bar members of extremist organisations working in independent schools is welcome in principle, though the details of this will need to be clarified.
“Questions need to be asked about why the Coalition is not extending such prohibitions to schools outside the independent sector, given that the Secretary of State has previously committed to doing so.
“It is vital that communities at risk of all extremist ideologies, including racist ideologies, are protected and the NASUWT will continue to insist that members of violent extremist organisations such as BNP, EDL, Combat 18 and the National Front are banned from working in schools or from serving as school governors.
“Ofsted may have a role to play but it is questionable whether it is equipped to fulfil it. Ofsted should commit to ensuring it takes seriously its statutory responsibility to inspect all state schools in relation to community cohesion.
“Ministers have sent out mixed messages about how seriously the Coalition Government takes the issues of extremism in schools, when it has relegated community cohesion work since 2010.”
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