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Scotland’s woke schools are robbing kids of their futures

The endless promotion of social-justice ideology has destroyed educational standards.

Stuart Waiton

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

Just over a year ago, a group of parents, teachers and academics founded the Scottish Union for Education. Committed to ‘education, not indoctrination’, we were concerned over the impact of identity politics on Scottish schools. But few of us at the time realised just how bad the situation had become.

My own concerns over the state of Scottish education were piqued in 2022, when hundreds of parents and teachers in Glasgow protested against the increasingly ‘pornographic’ nature of sex-education lessons. Kids were being given graphic illustrations of sex acts and questionnaires asking about their own sexual activity. Two years on, and we at the SUE now have a constant stream of parents and teachers telling us similar stories about contemporary sex education. As one Glasgow parent explained to us: ‘When a headteacher of a primary school tells you, “You’ll be pleased to know we’ve taken the clitoris off the curriculum”, you know something is going seriously wrong.’

The teaching of graphic, intrusive sex education to such young children is bad enough. Worse still is the widespread promotion of transgender ideology. School kids from primary school onwards are being told that they might have a gender identity that differs from their sex assigned at birth. A nursery worker told us recently that primary schools have culled ‘old fashioned’ childrens’ books, featuring men and women and boys and girls, in favour of gender-affirming alternatives, such as Julian Is a Mermaid, a tale of a boy who wants to become a mermaid and be ‘seen’ for who he really is. And a troubled teacher in Aberdeen told us that kids have been asked to vote on the introduction of gender-neutral toilets.

Of course, none of this insanity comes as a complete surprise. Gender ideology and identity politics more broadly have become deeply entrenched in Scotland’s educational establishment. The General Teaching Council for Scotland openly states in a 2021 document that the purpose of education is ‘to promote social justice’. Reaching a senior position at a Scottish school will almost certainly rest on your commitment to promoting the ‘correct’ identitarian worldview.

This was confirmed to us by a trainee teacher from Glasgow, who told us that the one required course text last year was Social Justice Re-examined. Published in 2012, it argues that the threat posed by endemic racism and ‘environmental destruction’ means that education must teach pupils ‘consciousness of values’ and how to ‘engage proactively with social justice’.

Scottish schools are being turned into ‘awareness-raising’ institutions. It seems all that matters now is the extent to which they can be used to promote certain causes, from trans rights to critical race theory to Net Zero. This is having a devastating effect on teachers themselves. The authority, motivation and strength that they once gained from being experts in their particular subjects is draining away. Passing on the best of what has been thought and said, and dragging children out of themselves into a world of knowledge, is no longer considered important. Instead, teachers are taught to promote particular ‘identities’ and celebrate children for ‘who they are’.

Consequently, any clear sense of what education is supposed to be for is being steadily lost. Promoting wokism now takes absolute priority over the rigorous learning that schools should be there to provide.

Indeed, the politicisation of Scottish schools is leading to a clear decline in the quality of education in Scotland. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which measures numeracy, literacy and knowledge of science, revealed in December that educational standards are collapsing. For a nation with a proud history of Enlightenment and education, this is shameful.

The good news, however, is that parents and teachers are fighting back. The Scottish Union for Education is part of this attempt to reclaim education from the scourge of identity politics. A great deal must change, of course – but with the help of people across the UK, anything is possible.

The Scottish Union for Education Conference: Education not Indoctrination is taking place this Saturday. You can purchase tickets at here.

Stuart Waiton is the chairperson of SUE. If you would like to find out more or support our work, become a subscriber or founding member today.

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Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

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