Education International
Education International

UK: EI member organisations react to report on racism in schools

published 12 March 2010 updated 12 March 2010

Two EI member organisations reacted to the Maurice Smith Review released today, which recommends that "teachers in England should not be banned from membership of the British National Party (BNP) or any group which may promote racism".

Education Secretary Ed Balls commissioned former chief school-inspector, Maurice Smith, to conduct the review last September, after a leaked list identified 15 BNP members as teachers.

Smith added that his recommendation should be reviewed every year, which was accepted by the ministers.

Commenting on the results of the review, Christine Blower, Secretary-General of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said:

"By and large, Maurice Smith's response is measured and proportionate. [...] In the run-up to a general election we cannot ignore the fact that there has been a significant upsurge of activity from the BNP. Should they be successful in gaining any further electoral ground that would be damaging."

On the other hand, the National Association of Schoolmasters' Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), which has been campaigning to have BNP members banned from schools, is disappointed by the review's findings.

"The idea that a person who signs up to membership of the BNP can simply leave these beliefs at the school gate and behave as a 'professional' when they walk into school is risible," said Chris Keates, NASUWT Secretary-General. She also found the report "woefully inadequate and littered with contradictions".

As the global union that represents the voice of education workers worldwide, EI insists that racism and intolerance have no place in schools.