HAYES IN THE HOUSE: Shaping the future of education
It is said that school days are the best of our lives. Certainly, to wide-eyed, open-minded young people those days provide a route to self-realisation.
Not only does learning equip children with the knowledge and skills to pursue further education, a trade or craft – a good education arms them with the reason, confidence and the sense fraternity which are the birthright of every young Briton.
To most of us it is obvious that an education true to the principles of freedom of thought and expression – blind to race, colour or creed – is our children’s entitlement.
Staying true to these principles – while reaching out to those who fall behind – is innate to the British sense of fairness and the social solidarity it spawns.
This spirit produced such shared national institutions as welfare system and NHS, and inspires the outstanding work of teachers in excellent schools, notably those here in Lincolnshire.
However, elsewhere zealots are seeking to place our children on the frontline of a culture war declared by those who despise our country.
Islamist fanatics in Batley have sent a teacher into hiding for what they define as blasphemy, while the Early Years Coalition of activists instruct nursery teachers to monitor toddlers under the accusatory guise of identity politics.
All this are a far cry from the values of compassion, forgiveness and understanding which is at the heart of good teaching and learning.
The extremists are in a small minority and they must not be allowed to succeed.
Theirs are cruel distortions which abuse the trust children place in adults – I struggle to think of a lower form of civil villainy than an assault on young minds and souls.
It has become fashionable in some privileged, liberal circles to view every facet of life through the lens of race or gender, and children, far from being exempt, are made targets.
White children are tarred with the original sin of ‘white privilege’ while their ethnic minority peers are bombarded with bogeyman tales of an ever present, all-powerful ‘systemic racism’.
These narratives demean the achievements of youth, stymying their efforts by
imposing on innocent minds a narrative cynically conjured by malcontents blinded by prejudice and privilege.
One only has to look to the scenes of pupils burning the Union Jack at Pimlico Academy to see the anger and division bred by twisting children’s minds.
However, the most recent independent report on race and ethnic disparities led by Dr Tony Sewell – based on firm evidence, not ideological invention – confirmed that there these narratives have no basis in reality.
In fact, the racial politics of the left has so twisted our national debate that we have ignored the plight of the white working class.
Of the 18 ethnic groups included in his study, white British children finish 11th for educational attainment.
In short, white working-class children have been ignored by an establishment preoccupied by fashionable identity politics.
Through no fault of their own, a generation of boys has been left to struggle, facing disproportionally dreadful outcomes without the helping hand of the adults on whom they depend.
Regardless of colour or class, every British child is entitled to their heritage – the chance to access the greatest British authors and poets and knowledge of their forefathers.
Schemes to ‘decolonise’ the curriculum are a thinly veiled plot to distort – or outright deny – the cultural and historical inheritance we have a moral duty to pass on to the next generation.
To break that generational link is to deny who we are as a people and shatter the sacred bond between the dead, the living and the unborn which, as Edmund Burke recognised, is the lynchpin of a harmonious, healthy, happy social order.