The Maurice Smith Review, charged with carrying out ‘a full and detailed review of the provisions which prevent the promotion of racism in schools’ has reported back to Government and it’s findings have been accepted by Ed Balls in full. Apparently the review was so full and detailed that the investigations included a meeting with a National Front press officer, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The DCSF press release * about the report outlines six recommendations made by Smith including monitoring by Ofsted and annual Government review states:
The current safeguards in place to protect children and young people in maintained schools from discrimination or political indoctrination include:
- a requirement for schools to have equal opportunities policies
- a duty to promote racial equality
- a statutory duty to promote community cohesion
- a duty on governing bodies, head teachers and local authorities to forbid the teaching of partisan political activities
- disciplinary powers of the GTCE
Maurice Smith adds:
Although police and prison officers are banned, to ban more than half a million teachers – or six million public servants – from joining a legitimate organisation would take this to a different scale of magnitude. Additionally, there is no consensus on this matter, and no agreement on where to ‘draw the line’. [my emphasis]
The BBC reports:
The teachers’ union the NASUWT, which has campaigned to have BNP members banned from schools, said it was disappointed by the review’s findings.
General secretary Chris Keates said: “Maurice Smith has squandered a golden opportunity to advance the cause of ensuring good race relations in schools.
“The report is woefully inadequate and littered with contradictions.”
She said too much attention was paid to the number of incidents in schools, saying “one incident is one too many”.
So in effect, teachers racist enough to join the BNP or NF will be monitored by ‘equal opportunities policies’ and Ofsted visits carried out every four years! Seriously! Obviously it doesn’t mean a teacher isn’t a racist bigot if they don’t belong to the BNP or NF but membership of either of these groups absolutely proves they are. I’d like to hear Balls’ rationale as to how such bigotry would not affect teaching and would promote community cohesion.
There is obviously no connection between the fact that there is an election almost upon us with New Labour desperate to woo disaffected voters who might choose to vote BNP is there? That would be seriously disgusting, and it’s not like they have form for this type of thing, certainly not in Lewisham, or Barking. (Please see Hope not Hate for alternate ways of fighting the BNP).
The Smith review does not cover recruitment within schools at all. Perhaps the new Equality Bill will really be a miracle after all and it’s enactment will mean liberal sprinklings of magic dust over all the problems that have been found with current Race Relations legislation.
*The DCSF press release contains a link to the full Smith Review report, but the DCSF have not made it available at the time of writing.