The union also criticised the review for its inadequate focus on the wider school workforce. The school of today, said the union, heavily relies on support staff, such as teaching assistants, librarians, learning mentors and home liaison officers, who make up more than 50% of the school workforce. These staff can also play a key role in community cohesion.
Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:
“This review is a missed opportunity to kick the BNP’s politics of hate out of our schools. Membership of the BNP is completely incompatible with delivering education to children. Schools should be at the forefront of promoting racial equality, not places where BNP members can spread their message of hate to impressionable young people.* The Maurice Smith Review was set up by the Secretary of State to undertake a full and detailed review of measures to prevent the promotion of racism in schools.
“The review is limited by not properly considering the wider schools workforce. Support staff play a significant role in delivering education to children. Young people at school can have a close, one on one relationship, with support staff. Support staff are also in charge of break times, and places such as libraries, where they could allow racist bullying to take place, if they were members of the BNP.
“Research suggests that support staff more closely reflect the community they serve, compared to teachers. They could therefore play an important role in community cohesion. This review promises a yearly check on the guidance set out. UNISON will be pressing for the full ban on BNP members working in schools to be imposed next year. It is vital that there is no place in our schools for racism.”