Israel and Palestinians: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th September 2021.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee, Chair, Education Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that educational initiatives in (a) schools and (b) universities promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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

The conflict in the Middle East has caused grave concern around the world. The Department is committed to tackling all forms of hate and prejudice and promoting tolerance throughout the education system.

On 28 May 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, sent a letter to schools regarding the increase in antisemitic incidents, with advice on teaching about the conflict. The letter reminded schools of their legal duties on political impartiality. When political issues are brought to the attention of pupils, schools should offer them a balanced presentation of opposing views. The letter also stated that schools should not present materials in a politically biased way, and signposted reputable organisations that schools could work with to teach about the conflict in a balanced manner:

The Department is developing further guidance on political impartiality in schools that we hope will serve to reemphasise these points across the curriculum and help to ensure that educational initiatives in schools are appropriate.

More broadly, schools play an important role in supporting pupils to understand the world, teaching about respect for other people and for differences. Through the ‘Educate Against Hate’ website, resources have been made available to provide teachers, head teachers and parents with the information, guidance and support they need to challenge radical views.

Regarding higher education, on 14 May 2021, the Secretary of State for Education sent a letter to all universities reinforcing the Government's position on antisemitism and urging the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.

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