Family & Education

Revised GCSE textbooks published following complaints of anti-Israel bias

Board of Deputies says new edition of books gives 'balanced and accurate portrayal'


Revised versions of two GCSE textbooks on the Middle East have been released following concerns raised about anti-Israel bias. 

Exam board Pearson withdrew The Middle East: Conflict, Crisis and Change, 1917-2012, which covers a unit in the Edexcel international GCSE history course, and Conflict in the Middle East c 1945-1995 for its equivalent domestic course late last year. 

It followed a critical report into the IGCSE book commissioned by UK Lawyers for Israel and the Zionist Federation. 

The Board of Deputies said it had worked with UKLFI to produce “thorough” comments on both course books which had been acted on by Pearson.  

Marie van der Zyl, the Board’s president, said it was “pleased with the final material, which gives a balanced and accurate portrayal of the Middle East conflict.” 

Sharon Hague, senior vice-president of Pearson UK Schools, said, “Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do at Pearson and we believe it is vital to work with the communities we serve to ensure our products are held to the highest standards”. 

Pearson was “delighted to be releasing a new edition of these textbooks at the beginning of the new academic year, she said. She thanked the Board of Deputies  and UKLFI “for their excellent collaboration throughout and for helping us to adapt and improve materials on this important topic”.
Mrs van der Zyl said the Board applauded Pearson’s “openness to constructive feedback and willingness to revise these textbooks”. 

Earlier this year Pearson said a review of the textbooks by an independent educational charity had found “no overall evidence of anti-Israel bias” but there were some areas “where the balance of sources could be improved”.


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