Education Secretary calls for school and college heads to protect Jewish students

The letter comes after an increase in antisemitism since Hamas terrorist attacks


The Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has written to schools and colleges to stress the importance of tackling any instances of antisemitism stirred up by events in the Middle East.

 In a joint letter signed by ministers Nick Gibb and Robert Halfon, she said that the UK stood in solidarity with Israel “in its hour of need” following the “barbaric terrorist attacks”.

 The letter was issued following Monday’s meeting between the entire Department for Education ministerial team of five and educational representatives of the Jewish community at the Menorah High School for Girls in London.

 Mrs Keegan and her colleagues stressed that to encourage support of Hamas was “illegal” and “contrary” to the British values that schools were required to promote.

 Young people may have a strong personal interest in the issues arising from recent events which “could lead to political activity,” they wrote.

 “Schools and colleges should ensure that any political expression is conducted sensitively, meaning that it is not disruptive and does not create an atmosphere of intimidation or fear for their peers and staff,” they said.

 “This includes not only where behaviour appears to celebrate or glorify violence, but also any expression of views that feels targeted against specific groups or stigmatises others.”

 In the past, they said, “we have seen how events in the Middle East are used as an excuse to stir up hatred against communities, including in schools and colleges. It is of the utmost importance that schools and colleges tackle this head on and ensure that where behaviour extends into antisemitism or other discriminatory bullying, it is responded to with all due seriousness.”

 The letter drew attention to online resources for challenging extremism and also to the Community Security Trust and Tell Mama, which monitors hate against Muslims.

 “We ask that you do whatever you can to actively provide Jewish and all young people with the reassurance they need and respond swiftly to any incidents,” the ministers said.

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