1,069 petitions

Started 15 hours ago

Petition to Department of Education, Education Secretary

Ban Of Mice and Men being taught to KS3 Children and/or its use in the Curriculum

Published in 1937, Of Mice and Men has long been a fixture of secondary school English curriculums. Author John Steinbeck used his own experience as a bindlestiff to tell the story of two migrant workers, one of whom is developmentally disabled, living and working in Depression-era California. Lenny and George dream of acquiring their own piece of land, but are thwarted by forces beyond their control. The book debuted to instant acclaim, and was soon adapted for the screen and stage. But that didn’t insulate it from censorship challenges; in fact, Of Mice and Men is amongst the most challenged books of the last few decades. Challenges have included complaints about “profanity,” “morbid and depressing themes,” and the author’s alleged “anti-business attitude.” Others have called it “derogatory towards African Americans, women, and the developmentally disabled.” That said; it has become quite apparent that over the years and in many cases some teachers and teaching authorities are glorifying some of the profanities of the book including the use of the 'N' word whilst reading the literature of the book out aloud; using the word 'N***er' in full (in other words, with no filter) and instructing students to read paragraphs aload whilst using the 'N' word which in turn is causing offence and upset to it's students and their families. This careless attitude whilst conducting the teaching of the book is disrespectful and shows little or no compassion for the african american/caribbean and mixed parentage students and their parents.  If the book Of Mice and Men is to be used as part of the curriculum then generally this should be done once a student has reached a maturity age close to adulthood i.e. 16-17 years old. Upon being taught; Teachers should have specific objectives/guidelines for the discussions - for example, in the opening section, discuss and identify figurative language, characterisation methods, use of description, early conflicts, and so on. Currently there are KS3 children who are being forced into reading this book because it is part of the curriculum. Parents are not being advised beforehand and should be given the choice for their child/ren to opt in or out of lessons teaching this part of the syllabus as the writing dialogue is riddled with profanity, slurs and slang. In fact, the language in the book is the main reason it has been challenged so much. In addition, there are some sexual situations and violence. For all these reasons we would like to ban the use of Of Mice and Men being taught in KS3. 

11 supporters
Update posted 20 hours ago

Petition to Damian Hinds MP

Call for Reform - Schools' Governing Board Selection to ensure Accountability.

Due to the absence of integrity, accountability, objectivity and selflessness of a School’s governing board my husband and I finally felt so pressured we had to remove our six year old son from the primary school in the small village of Winteringham, North Lincolnshire in 2018. The Governing Board comprises of a Female Chief Superintendent of the Local Police Force in Humberside, A Male Local Authority Conservative of North Lincolnshire Council, other Local Authority employees, The Deputy Headteacher, and other residents in the small village of Winteringham and the closely associated village of Winterton. Although it is seen to be within the best interest of the local community regarding the operation of the local primary school, it also gives room for exercising power through social relations and common interests, ergo, accountability is not manifested when and where it should be. This is reinforced yet again by the fact that in 2017 Schools' governing boards have the power to eject any governor that they consider to be a maverick by speaking up against the popular consensus of the board. I’m sure no governor then wants to become the social pariah of their own community, especially if they have children that attend the school. The catalyst for appearing before the School’s Governing Board Complaint Panel was that our son had been injured twice by the same pupil within the short timeframe of three weeks, his first weeks attending the school. We had raised our concerns with them after the first incident. The latter resulted in a dash to A&E. Now, I understand that many of you may be reading this and thinking to yourself this is a daily occurrence up and down the country! You would be right, I would agree, and we could have left it there. However, what ensued following these incidents and a Subject Access Request from the school, we unveiled the extraordinary clandestine behaviour of the Headteacher. She was determined to alter the course of events in her favour at any cost. She had the unanimous support of all the school’s governing board, and the local authority, in fact they were instrumental in the massaging of her ego, justification of her megalomaniac behaviour, not the accountability that was so evident it should have been addressed. The Headteacher (whom initially refused to put anything in writing), the Deputy Head Teacher, Key Staff Members, Chair of Governors, and Vice Chair were all responsible in the creation of Operation Witchhunt. Through the subtle art of collusion that only happens in social circles, they rallied around other parents, they did not keep our confidentiality and portrayed a partisan version of events. This was abundantly clear in the other parents behaviour, they were happy to make us feel like we should be accountable for daring to challenge the Headteacher. We however maintained our dignity, followed their procedures, kept our business private between the school and the authorities for our son’s sake. We lived in hope that we would be heard by anybody with the integrity to actually examine and question the evidence. We put our faith in firstly, the Schools Governing Board then the Local Police Force in Humberside and finally the Local Authority in North Lincolnshire. This turned out to be a fools errand. They had colluded in the destruction of sensitive medical data, manipulated school data and made false statements and false allegations on both Police Logs and Local Authority documentation. The grand finale was the very shameless (and very obvious)  doctoring of evidence by the Headteacher for the complaint panel meeting, of which all members of the Governing Board turned a blind eye to. Corrupted and distorted, so much so, that if we had then presented the case to the Department for Education we were already set up to fail. When doing the right thing is compromised by whom the school governors rub shoulders with on a social level gives little faith to it being fair and balanced, therefore, making a complete mockery of the whole complaints system in schools. Most of the individuals being complained about sat on the School's Governing Board? Call for reform is a consciousness of what is happening under the current regulation of school governors. An impartial third party could be introduced at the very start of a complaint against a school, have the power to interview the parents, examine and challenge the evidence. If necessary they could then bring the Governing Board to account for not upholding their values and obligations.   Please sign this petition for reform if you believe that a fair and balanced schools' governing board should apply in a modern education system rather than a “one hand washes the other” governing board of old.    

Joanna Warner
36 supporters
Started 1 day ago

Petition to Department of Education, UK Parliament, Boris Johnson MP, Sadiq Khan

Make the “No Outsiders (LGBT) Curriculum” in schools OPTIONAL rather than compulsory

From 2020, the Government want to make it compulsory for primary school children to learn about sexual relationships, including the LGBT community, as part of their curriculum. They have decided to do so whilst disregarding the input and beliefs of parents around the country - making it compulsory for all children whether they attend academies, state or private schools and even faith schools to take part. We wish to express that we are in under no circumstances homophobic, hateful or discriminatory of people who wish to lead a certain lifestyle - we simply hold beliefs and traditional family values that do not align to those of the LGBT community in particular. We respect their personal decisions but we do not agree with them. If we do not agree with it, then why should our young children be FORCED to learn about it? We believe in letting children be children - and not confusing and forcing them to learn that its ok to, for example, be gay, when our religions and beliefs clearly teaches us its not ok. We believe that the decision to make this curriculum compulsory clearly violates the following human rights: - the right to freedom of religion and belief - the right to freedom of expression (citizens have the right to participate in political discussions and have opinions - parents had NO say in this particular matter) - the right to education (The right to education gives you the right to access the educational system and to receive an effective education. It also means the state should respect the right of parents to ensure teaching is in accordance with their religious or philosophical beliefs.) We therefore want the Government to revise the Sex and Relationships Education Curriculum to be OPTIONAL in which parents can decide if they want their children to take part or not. It is not fair to be compulsory for those who do not believe or agree with it.           

Ana Fernandes
34 supporters