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Government breaks its silence over Nottingham school pupils' letter condemning PM

Nottinghamshire Live logo Nottinghamshire Live 15/02/2022 Joseph Locker
A general view of Welbeck Primary School in Kinglake Place, Meadows, Nottingham © Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post A general view of Welbeck Primary School in Kinglake Place, Meadows, Nottingham

The Government's Education Secretary and standards office have responded after a school in Nottingham was criticised when children wrote a letter calling for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign.

Year 6 pupils at Welbeck Primary School were pictured on Twitter holding letters addressed to their Labour MP, Lilian Greenwood, expressing they felt "infuriated and enraged" at the Conservative Government and its leader.

The language used prompted concern from Conservative MPs, including Gedling MP Tom Randall, who called on the Education Secretary to investigate.

Mr Johnson has been at the centre of the partygate scandal and has been told by the Met Police to fill out a questionnaire covering the alleged incidents at Downing Street.

In a statement to Nottinghamshire Live Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: "While there is a clear need for schools to address political issues in the classroom from time to time, this must not be done in a partisan way.

"No school should be encouraging young people to pin their colours to a political mast."

An Ofsted spokeswoman added: "We are unable to comment on concerns raised about individual schools.

"But we take seriously all complaints we receive and assess them thoroughly to see whether any action is required."

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The headteacher of the school, Rebecca Gittins, hit back and said she was 'disappointed' the post on Twitter had to be taken down due to a number of abusive replies.

And the leader of Nottingham City Council, Dales ward councillor David Mellen, added: "It is quite right children and young people to be engaged in current affairs and politics, and schools have an important role to play in helping them understand how our democracy works and getting them involved in discussing ideas and how to present them.

"Teaching citizenship is vital. Children are aware what is going on around them and what is covered in various media outlets. It is unsurprising that a story features extensively in all newspapers and TV channels is mentioned by children in their classroom discussions and their written work on letter writing.

"Our children and young people have recently experienced how politics can affect their lives, through the global pandemic bringing them, their families and friends considerable challenges. Welbeck School staff, like those at other city schools, went above and beyond their duty to work creatively with children and their families to sustain their learning and support children's well-being during this time."

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