Debate at schools is being shut down by a ‘worrying trend towards an intolerance of different opinions’, warns Ofsted chief

Amanda Spielman says that the rise of “single issue groups” including vegan campaigners and anti-LGBT education protesters has meant that a “simplistic, polarising” narrative has formed, “in which the world’s problems have a single, neat solution; where scapegoats abound and critics are seen as the enemy – to be discredited, discounted or disowned.” The Telegraph reports.

Speaking at The Festival of Education at Wellington College, Ms Spielman criticised the parents who tried to block schools teaching children about the existence of LGBT relationships.

“Parents may want to shelter their children from the truths, half-truths and lies that exist in the wider world, but the same will not always be true of their peers,” she said.

“Isn’t it better to learn about the world from a reputable teacher, than from their friends in school playgrounds, or online?”

Ms Spielman also took a swipe at animal rights protestors who had marched on schools.

“Recently there have been at least two instances where schools have faced fierce protests from animal rights and vegan protestors, for raising animals on school grounds and encouraging the children to learn about, and be involved in, their care. The objectors were outraged because those animals would in time be slaughtered to provide meat for the school canteen.”

In her two years as Ofsted chief inspector, Ms Spielman says she has seen campaigners intimidating teachers to prevent certain lessons from being taught and leaning on parents to give the impression of a united front, in order to close down debate. This, she says, “cannot be allowed to stand.”


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