Teachers accused of brainwashing need protection, NAHT urges

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has warned that teachers are in need of protection from parents who accuse them of brainwashing their children.

The news follows disagreements between head teachers and parents regarding the process of teaching topics such as homosexuality as part of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE).

The news comes as the NAHT and other teachers’ unions have called on the government to make PSHE a statutory part of the curriculum, to protect teachers from claims they are following a personal agenda. The union warned that not doing so could risk a relationship breakdown between the school and community.

The discussion is particularly strained in primary schools as the disagreements mount about what topics should be covered at what age. Although, it has been found that once parents are informed about the details of the age-appropriate material being used, they are often reassured.

Speaking before the union’s annual conference next week, Russell Hobby, the NAHT’s general secretary, said: “We don’t think we need to make PSHE statutory to make teachers do it, but to protect teachers when they do. Otherwise they are vulnerable to accusations that they are pursuing a personal agenda.

“We’ve seen really difficult situations where parents who disagree with the philosophies that are being promoted are saying, ‘You’re doing this, you’re brainwashing our children.’ It’s really helpful to professionals on the frontline to be able to say, ‘No, this is a duty, it’s government regulation and I am doing this, as every school in the country is.’”

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