HC Deb 18 July 1984 vol 64 cc219-20W
Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will consider giving guidance to local education authorities on the distribution of political propaganda leaflets in schools, whether by teachers or other bodies.

Sir Keith Joseph

I have repeatedly made it clear that what is provided in schools should always be education and never indoctrination. I have no immediate plans to add to the propositions which I put forward in a speech to a conference on peace studies on 3 March. I said then that teachers dealing with any topic involving facts, their interpretation and value judgments should ensure that what is offered to pupils as a fact is indeed true; that the selection of facts gives a picture which is neither unbalanced nor superficial; that facts and opinions are clearly separated; and that the pupils are encouraged to weigh evidence and argument so as to arrive at rational judgments. I also said that teachers could not afford, when dealing with pupils, to allow their own political views to influence their presentation of other people's ideas, and that they had to be more careful in their choice of words and in their whole presentation than they would be in dealing with their fellow adults; and that there was a special obligation on the local education authority to help teachers discharge their complex and delicate task with proper professionalism. All of these propositions apply to the use made in schools of materials concerned with political issues, whatever their source.

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