Teachers have warned their pupils are finding “Holocaust denial” material online, amongst other items, whilst researching school projects.
In Birmingham, a member of the union at the annual conference, said teachers have discovered parents of pupils are becoming radicalised through social media. The NASUWT members voted for specialist training so teachers can help challenge far-right nationalism in the classroom.
A Twitter account re-sharing Tommy Robinson, a far-right convicted criminal’s tweets, was found by an English teacher from Leeds. Nicholas Tones recalled discovering the account was run by one of his pupil’s parents.
He reported this as a concern under the Counter-Terrorism “Prevent” strategy. “From the feedback I sought afterwards, it seems there was a delay by both the officer and the local authority in processing the concern and acting upon it.”
Mr. Tones said he believed those running Prevent have, “evolved somewhat” since then, but in the context of an “increasingly toxic and polarised” political environment.
Another union member, Judith Bruce-Golding, said the union needed to undermine the far-right initiatives “because it may be embedded in our curriculum”.
A North Tyneside teacher, Rachel Minto, said: “Gone are the days when far-right information and propaganda was confined to the back rooms. This material can now be accessed 24/7 with your phone.”
She added: “A Google search on the Holocaust can bring up denial material as easily as legitimate information and sound historical documentation. Children can accidentally come across this material whilst innocently researching for school projects.”
General secretary of NASUWT, Patrick Roach, said: “Anti-racism must be central to the curriculum and schools and colleges must also be supported and equipped to provide a curriculum that challenges all forms of bigotry, prejudice, and hatred.”
He further commented that the union was, “alarmed by the incidence of far-right extremism and hate crimes in the UK”.