Schools: Freedom of Expression

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th July 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote free speech in schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Schools play an important role in preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. This involves supporting pupils to understand the society in which they grow up and teaching them about the importance of respect for other people and for different views.

Schools are already required to actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. Freedom of speech is relevant to, and could be considered in, the context of all these values.

Head teachers and other staff are best placed to make their own decisions about what they teach in this respect and how they teach it, subject to their obligations to ensure political balance.

The Department is developing guidance for schools on political impartiality to help them to understand their responsibilities in this area. This will include the importance of exposing pupils to a diverse range of views during their time at school.

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