Schools have long played a part in shaping young people’s morality, but the government’s new RSE demands risk taking this role a step too far, cautions Ian Mitchell in the latest Education Forum column for Teach Secondary magazine…

Schools have long been expected to help shape the moral character of their students. In presenting his 1944 Education Act to parliament, R.A. Butler claimed that, ‘Family life is the healthiest cell in the body politic. It is the Government’s desire that family life shall be encouraged.’

However, this shaping of moral character was hitherto achieved via the teaching of specific knowledge and/or implicit endorsement of family values. Supporting development is one thing; determining development is quite another.

Unfortunately, contemporary politicians increasingly see schools and teachers in the same way that Priestley saw his enigmatic inspector – as agents of morality who can explicitly put the world to rights. While flattering, I fear that teachers are no more effective at combatting social problems, such as sexual harassment, than Priestley’s inspector was at promoting socialism...

Read the full article on TeachWire.

Education Forum founder Dennis Hayes has written an essay for a new Higher Education Policy Institute report, What is the student voice? Thirteen essays on how to listen to students and how to act on what they say

…Often people argue that the university should be a safe space for discussion. But that is not what “safe space” means today. It means a place where ideas that are deemed unacceptable by the emotionally offended can be excluded. But that is not a university. … Students should leave their safe spaces, managerial committees and destressing programmes and get back to raising their traditional voice. This may seem nothing like a return to the student radicalism of the 1960s but in contemporary therapy culture it would be equally radical...

Read the full essay here.

Classics should not be the preserve of the posh, writes Gareth Sturdy in Spiked

…The programme has provoked considerable outrage from the liberal-left. Critics of the government say its focus on Latin is a sign of its ‘elitism’. But if ‘elitism’ is the belief that pupils’ backgrounds should determine which subjects are appropriate for them to learn, then the Latin Excellence programme looks like a challenge to elitism. Dismissing the idea that working-class kids might enjoy or profit from learning Latin — that is what is really elitist here…

Read the full article on Spiked.