Pupils at risk of extremist ideologies


Pupils are at risk of being exposed to Islamic extremism because most schools link good conduct to top grades rather than a moral purpose, according to a new report from Edge Hill University.

The research showed that most school policies explained pupils should behave well in class in order to support their own, or fellow pupils’, learning and academic achievement. 
However, the academics argued that a lack of moral purpose in school policies may leave pupils open to movements which seek to offer an alternative, more explicitly moral or religious vision - such as the alleged attempted ‘Trojan Horse’ takeover of schools in Birmingham. 
In the paper presented at a conference by the British Educational Research Association, the scholars said that virtues such as curiosity, critical thinking and respect for evidence should be the overall objectives of schools - good academic results should be seen as mere by-products of these aims, rather than the defining mission. 
Referring to the 'Trojan Horse' affair, the research team said: "“What, in many ways, provided the opportunity for a hostile ideological takeover of schools was the absence of a coherent moral narrative that articulated the school’s position and goals.
“If it is our desire, as a society, to establish a form of secular education that is not divorced from all moral statements through its conscious and political disassociation from all flavours of religion, then an excellent place to start would be with the virtues of inquiry."