How should teachers tackle the vote for Brexit?

Teachers face a difficult job of explaining the EU referendum to students – here's how the profession is reacting to the challenge

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The decision by the UK to leave the EU will pose teachers a number of issues today and over the coming weeks.

A TES poll found that 70% of teaching staff intended to vote for remain (you can also read several comment pieces from teachers here), so there is a potential disconnect with parents to negotiate carefully.


There will also be difficult questions for teachers in schools with a high proportion of students from the EU – reports overnight suggested there were fears among the Polish community in particular about what impact the decision may have on their UK residency. These fears will be felt by students and questions will be asked of teachers.

I have had no conversations with children today so far other than about the referendum: many children v worried.

— Father Richard (@trinheadmaster) June 24, 2016

And there is also a dilemma as to how much – if at all – teachers directly deal with the referendum (see this article by chair of Whole Education John Dunford). Some teachers on social media have recommended a 'business as usual' approach but others advocate dealing with the issue directly through class discussions.

The best course of action should be decided by the individual teacher that knows their students best. But teachers have posted possible approaches on Twitter that may come in useful for your own planning.

Pondering the best plan as a teacher today.

• Share news w kids.
• Carry on calmly as normal in face of uncertainty.
• Embrace difference.

— (((Daniel Hugill))) (@DanielHugill) June 24, 2016

And now to work. Where today I will try to teach English Lang & Lit, tolerance, diversity, love, bravery and hope.

— Natalie Scott (@nataliehscott) June 24, 2016

#EAL kids in your schools will feel unsure of their futures today. Uncomfortable. Maybe scared. Please be mindful

— Diane Leedham (@DiLeed) June 24, 2016

Schools will have to work even harder with young people to help them develop into kind, caring, tolerant, thinking citizens of the world.

— Kenny Frederick (@kennygfrederick) June 24, 2016

To my teacher colleagues sense making #brexit aftermath w/ your students: thank you. Amidst #chaos, remind them we need #others #calm #hope

— Karen Edge (@drkarenedge) June 24, 2016


Schools are invited to tune in to a live-streamed “EU Referendum: What Now?” panel discussion at 11am on 30 June, hosted by Speakers for Schools in partnership with TES. During the debate, chaired by ITV’s Robert Peston, students can watch live and ask questions over social media. Panellists include Miriam González Durántez, journalist Owen Jones and novelist Dreda Say Mitchell. Tweet your questions to @tes and @speakrs4schools

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

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