Many see the fact that school orders of white poppies are up as a reassuring sign that alternative narratives are still being explored.
The sharp rise in white poppy orders for schools can be attributed to a more ‘honest reflection about history’, peace campaigners have said.
Symon Hill, coordinator of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), which distributes and produces white poppies, said that requests for the PPU’s new Remembrance Education Packs this year had more than quadrupled. This year, 280 packs were ordered, compared to fifty-nine orders in 2019.
Many schools have ordered white poppies to be available alongside red poppies. Symon Hill told the Friend: ‘There’s been a change in mood in several ways, I think: the Black Lives Matter movement, and controversies over statues, have encouraged honest reflection about history and made more people keener to ensure that young people can explore difficult questions for themselves about what to remember and how to remember. The PPU’s educational resources really help with this.’
Overall, he said the number of white poppies sold this year is likely to be down on last year, due to Covid and lockdowns and the fact that many shops and places of worship that usually sell white poppies are not open. ‘However, the level of orders is not nearly as low as we feared. Given the situation we’re in, the level of orders for white poppies is encouraging.’
Many see the fact that school orders of white poppies are up as a reassuring sign that alternative narratives are still being explored. Last month the government issued guidance that schools should refrain from using teaching materials for some curriculums from organisations that have expressed a desire to end capitalism.
The Quaker Socialist Society (QSS) branded the guidance as ‘deeply authoritarian’. Tim Gee, from QSS, said: ‘If this means critical ideas are not discussed, it will mean children are denied a well-rounded education.’
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