Schools are being advised to teach pupils about the 9/11 attacks to ensure that children do not fall for conspiracy theories.
New government-endorsed resources are being launched amid fears that some teachers may also be vulnerable to misconceptions about the 2001 terrorist atrocities because they are too young to remember them.
Kamal Hanif, headteacher of Waverley School in Birmingham, said: “Some [teachers] would have only been 5 or 6 at the time. They wouldn’t have a full comprehension of 9/11.”
The educational charity Since 9/11 is distributing the resources to help teach the events, causes and consequences of the attacks in 2001 to secondary students. But the charity is also considering producing primary material.
Lord West of Spithead, the government’s former chief of defence intelligence, said 9/11 should be taught to unlock “the ghastly circle of disillusionment” of young people to prevent radicalisation. Speaking at Since 9/11’s conference, the former military leader said: “I think it makes it even more imperative that we address this issue.”
Historian Simon Schama told TES it was important to teach the terror attacks in schools to address forgetfulness and misunderstanding.
But the historian, known for TV series A History of Britain, added: “I think what the difficulty about 9/11 education is that it becomes civically ritualised. I think it shouldn’t just be a set of sermons. It has to be a kind of morally loaded storytelling and great teachers are natural storytellers.”
Jeremy Hayward, a lecturer at the UCL’s Institute of Education – which wrote the materials – said: “It’s hard to understand the world you live in without an understanding of 9/11. [Pupils] will look on the internet and it’s possibly the worst place to go to try and understand.”