Friends berate ‘deeply authoritarian’ anticapitalist guidance

'It will mean children are denied a well-rounded education.’

The Quaker Socialist Society (QSS) has spoken out about government guidance that schools should refrain from using teaching materials from organisations that have expressed a desire to end capitalism.

Tim Gee from the QSS said: ‘This guidance is either unenforceable or it is deeply authoritarian, especially if it is a sign of things to come.

‘Martin Luther King junior described his ideas as “anti-capitalistic”. George Orwell said every line he wrote was to oppose totalitarianism and promote democratic socialism. Jesus Christ taught “you cannot serve both God and money”. Will schools really reject any materials from organisations who agree with these ideas?

‘There is some room for interpretation within the guidance, but we should beware of the chilling effect it could have. If this means critical ideas are not discussed, it will mean children are denied a well-rounded education.’

Elsewhere, the guidance issued by the Department of Education on 24 September was met with condemnation. Campaigners including the Coalition of Anti-Racist Educators and Black Educators Alliance have threatened legal action, saying that the guidance would limit anti-racism teaching and prevent teachers from using material from groups including Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion. Some Quaker material – such as the New Economy booklets – also explore alternatives to our current economic system.

The guidance categorised anti-capitalism as an ‘extreme political stance’. It was issued for school leaders and teachers involved in setting the relationship, sex and health curriculum.

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