Imagine how you would react if you discovered that your 7-year-old daughter was told by her teacher that ‘sometime in the future she might decide to change her gender and that’s O.K.’. That’s what happened to Sally, a now very angry mother, who told me that ‘she is at a loss to know how to respond’ to the teacher’s ‘vile’ statement.
‘She has no right to put those ideas in my daughter’s head’, Sally told me.
Sally is not alone. One mother became furious when she discovered that her child’s primary school in South Lanarkshire emailed parents to inform them that it was organising a Gender Awareness Training parent workshop.[i] You might ask ‘what’s the point of this workshop’? According to the organisers, the aim of this event was to provide a ‘space to explore key gender concepts and discover unconscious bias’.
That’s another way of saying that the purpose of the workshop is to encourage parents not to tell their young child’ don’t be silly’, when she comes back from school and declares that she wants to be a boy.
It appears that this South Lanarkshire primary school along with many other Scottish educational institutions have taken on the task of re-educating grown-up parents. They wish to free mothers and fathers of their supposed unconscious bias and convince them to embrace trans-genderist ideology.
Welcome to the Brave New World of Scottish Education where the Teaching Establishment has adopted the view that re-educating parents and indoctrinating children into the values of transgenderism and so-called social justice is essential for realising its objective of decolonising the school curriculum.
Miriam Elia, Nowa normalność,
wystawa w CSW Zamek Ujazdowski
Keeping parents in the dark
It is bad enough when schools take it upon themselves to lecture parents about how they should engage with very personal and intimate sex related issues. It is far worse when very young children are also targeted with trans-genderist values. Children are impressionable and are easily influenced by teachers who aim to normalise the idea that the traditional biological distinction between boys and girls is outdated and that therefore it is entirely understandable that some girls would wish to transition to becoming boys and vice versa.
The Education Establishment knows that most parents are not sympathetic to it project of promoting trans-genderist ideology. That is why its campaign to normalise transgenderism in the classroom is often pursued through keeping parents in the dark about how this issue is discussed with their children. Some teacher’s claim that it is necessary to keep their pupils’ confusions about their sexuality a secret in order to protect them from the negative reaction of their parents.
The arrogant conviction that a teacher knows the needs of a child better than a parent serves as justification for keeping mothers and fathers in the dark.
The SNP Governments’ non-statutory guidance directs Scottish teachers, social workers and police to respect the privacy of children as young as 13 who engage in undergo sexual activity. The guidance states that parents should not be automatically informed of their children’s sexual activity.[ii] The premise of this guidance is that teachers and social workers are best placed to deal with children’s sexual activity.
When teachers and other professionals assume the role of surrogate parents, the authority of a mother and a father is seriously undermined. The goal of diminishing parental authority is consciously pursued by zealous activists who believe that parents are an obstacle to the realisation of their objective; which is to gain control over the socialisation of children.
The semi-clandestine promotion of a trans-genderist culture adopted by Scottish educators originated in the United States. In numerous instances American teachers even went so far as to keep parents in the dark about the content of the course material they were using. This disturbing development is well documented by the author Bonnie Snyder, in her important book, Undoctrinate: How Politicized Classrooms Harm Kids and Ruin our Schools – And We can Do about It[iii].
As Snyder explains, the promotion of woke ideology occurs ‘without full disclosure, open discussion, or buy-in from the people with final responsibility and ultimate authority over the education of children: the parents’. She adds that:
‘In some cases, this lack of transparency is deliberate, with the intent to conceal motivations, when an activism-oriented teacher senses that not everyone in the community shares the educator’s allegiances. This can be undertaken paternalistically, with the assumption that those who are “better educated” are justified to withhold contentious information in the service of a righteous cause and for the improvement of those less ennobled or less aware (less woke, in the current parlance)’[iv]
In effect students are increasingly expected to adopt the value system of the trans-genderist advocate, even if it conflicts with those of their family.
Miriam Elia, Nowa normalność,
wystawa w CSW Zamek Ujazdowski
Indoctrination displaces education
Once upon a time the training of teachers was informed by the imperative of helping them to become effective educators of subjects like mathematics, literature, physics and history. That was then. Today, the Scottish Government wishes to train teachers to campaign against the supposed outdated values embraced by the parents and grandparents of schoolchildren. That is why, for example, it encourages teachers to develop the skill of dealing with ‘white fragility’[v].
For its part the General Teaching Council for Scotland has decided that its mission is to indoctrinate rather than educate school children. It appears more interested in promoting political activism amongst its members than attending to the very real education needs of young people.
Guidance issued by The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) last year asserted that teachers must commit to promoting ‘social justice, diversity and sustainability’[vi]. It states ‘Scotland’s teachers help to embed sustainable and socially just practices in order to flourish as a nation’.
Embedding ‘socially just practices’ in the classroom is a euphemism for indoctrinating pupils with woke-related political values. Historically, the attempt to embed a distinct system of political values in the classroom was associated with the practices of totalitarian regimes like the Soviet Union. In western democracies it was understood that a teacher’s proper role is to educate and serve as a guide, not to play the role of a Political Commissar, who instructs students what to think.
Until recent times, teachers did not presume to dictate to students what political values they should hold. Teachers were expected to be politically neutral and not play the role of advocates of a particular ideology. In principle, the political views of teachers are irrelevant to performing their role as educators in the classroom. Some teachers were liberal, others were conservative or socialist, but they all knew that they had to keep their political views to themselves and not promote them in the classroom.
Today the situation has dramatically altered. The classroom is fast becoming politicised. The GTCS expects teachers to sign up to the same political outlook and work together to promote the official line. Ensuring that all teachers share the same outlook goes hand in hand with indoctrinating children with it
The political line advocated by the GTCS come s straight out of the Scottish National Party’s play book. The GTCS line to be followed states that:
‘Engaged, reflective, empowered and skilled teachers and learners acknowledge Scotland’s place in the world, our history, our differences and diversity, our unique natural environment, and our culture based on social justice’.
The GTCS’s framing of a new version of Scottish exceptionalism is based on reinventing this nation’s history as a ‘culture based on social justice’.
In effect the GTCS attempt to recast Scottish culture as one based on social justice means that the SNP’s world view becomes the official doctrine of this nation’s system of education. Presumably teachers, who are sceptical of the fiction that Scottish culture is based on social justice or who reject the woke ideals associated with social justice need to censor their view of leave the profession.
The GTCS document outlining what it expects of school-heads states unambiguously that ‘Headteachers - set clear standards in relation to enacting the principles of inclusion, sustainability, equality and social justice through the curriculum.’[vii].
It is worth noting that the social justice is one of those diffuse concepts that sound good but mean very little. The GTCS defines social justice as a view ‘that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities now and in the future’[viii]. As anyone with the slightest understanding of political theory knows, this is an anodyne statement with which no one can disagree. It lacks content and does not convey any real meaning. As it happens the GTCS understands this point and warns that these ‘values can often be overlooked, become platitudes or 'hurrah' words’.
Yet Education Establishment relies on ‘hurrah’ words like diversity, equality and sustainability to promote, what can best be described as a counter-cultural agenda. That is why the GTCS’ long list of official values focused on the cultural politics of identity and highlights the importance of ‘protected characteristics’ such as ‘(age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, sexual orientation) and intersectionality[ix].
Many observers who read the GTCS’ anodyne references on social justice can draw the conclusion that there is little point in taking them seriously. However, if you look closely, it become evident that what’s valued by the GTCS goes against the ethos of the Enlightenment and of modern democracy. What is really worrying about the GTCS’s document, Standards For Headship, are the values that it leaves out!
The document devoted to professional values does not mention tolerance. The words freedom and liberty are conspicuously absent from its pages. And a statement devoted to praising ‘our culture based on social justice’ somehow manages to ignore the value of democracy.
The failure to take seriously the foundational values of a modern enlightened society throws light on the kind of world view envisaged by social justice professionals. In particular, the GTCS’s indifference to the value of tolerance is not an accident. If it upheld this value, it would not insist that all teachers sing from the same political hymn sheet. It would recognise the old-fashioned principal that asserted that schools should be impartial.
It is entirely legitimate to teach children values but not to turn the classroom into an indoctrination factory. If teachers use political propaganda to influence children than they violate a foundational principle of childhood pedagogy – their personal agenda trumps the educational needs of pupils.
The promotion of ideology is particularly reprehensible in primary education where politically active teachers seek to influence those in their charge. Even children as young as 6 and 7 have been caught up in the culture wars!
In the UK primary school system, children are often taught to not take for granted their gender identity. The trans-genderist campaign group, Stonewall’s School and College Champions Scheme provides guidance to Primary Schools that states
‘Everyone has a gender identity. This is the gender that someone feels they are. This might be the same as the gender they were given as a baby, but it might not. They might feel like they are a different gender, or they might not feel like a boy or a girl’.
By encouraging primary school children to cultivate doubts about their gender ideology, youngsters are indoctrinated into a worldview that encourages them to question their identity. Trans-genderist campaigners are far more interested in influencing the outlook of young children than in helping them to gain confidence about who they are.
The mother who raised concerns about her children’s primary school in South Lanarkshire believes that pupils are subjected to a regime of indoctrination. She is absolutely right. The values advocated by the GTCS are non-negotiable. When educators dogmatically insist that their political values must inform their teaching, education becomes subordinated to the dictares of indoctrination.
Unlike education which encourages children to think, indoctrination imposes conformity on the classroom. The philosopher, Bertrand Russell put this well, when he stated that;
‘Education ought to foster the wish for truth, not the conviction that some creed is the truth’.
[i] J. Glover, SNP trans policy turning youth into 'Chairman Mao's Young Army' as teacher makes 'indoctrination' claim, Scottish Daily Express, 01.11.2022 (access: 03.05.2023).
[ii] D. Sanderson, SNP tells teachers to offer teenagers ‘confidentiality’ by not telling parents about underage sex, The Telegraph, 20.02.2022, (access: 03.05.2023).
[iii] B.K. Snyder, Undoctrinate: How Politicized Classrooms Harm Kids and Ruin Our Schools--And What We Can Do about It.
[iv] B.K. Snyder, Undoctrinate: How Politicized Classrooms Harm Kids and Ruin Our Schools--And What We Can Do about It, (2021), pp. 27-28
[v] H. Howard, Teachers in Scotland will be given 'white privilege' lessons and 'anti-racism learning resources' to help 'decolonise' the school curriculum, MailOnline, 26.08.2021 (access: 03.05.2023).
[vi] M. Horne, Teachers ordered to promote ‘social justice’, 05.08.2021 (access: 03.05.2023).
[vii] The General Teaching Council for Scotland, Standards for Headship