And so Katie Hopkins has waded into your classroom.
Well, not literally. Not yet.
She has joined the ranks of the people-who-went-to-school-once-and-know-what’s-wrong-and-how-to-fix-it. Depressingly, that makes her mostly qualified for EdSec. All she needs now is a constituency. Now if all her followers could move into the same school catchment area…
Ms Hopkins is concerned about your bias. If you were all proud nationalists, or at least good social conservatives, I dare say she would be your profession’s most vociferous supporter.
But no. You are the Blob.
The erstwhile Apprentice contestant has offered, on Twitter, to come to school and take a politics class. Your politics class. If not yours, your colleague’s – which amounts to the same, does it not, comrade?
She already made that offer directly to young people, last week, instigating them to persuade their headteacher.
Your say, as their teacher, matters not one iota. Did you think it should, you loony lefty?
Now, you could get all uppity about that, but you’d probably only strengthen her view, and her followers’, that you’re just a liberal snowflake.
Or you could just ignore her and hope she goes away. Fact is, that makes you no less of a snowflake in her view. A pushover. A laughing stock. You can’t even pretend you don’t know now, because I just told you.
Worse of all, it confirms for her and her followers that they are right: that you have something to hide, that you are part of a secret cabal working in classrooms to indoctrinate children in the ways of revolutionary Marxism or extremist Islamism. They seem to make no distinction between the two, and nor do they care to have the contradiction between fervent revolutionary zeal and liberal flakiness pointed out to them. You are, to all intents and purposes. Shrodinger's Syndikat.
But no. You are made of stronger stuff. You won’t let yourself be cast in this light. You can see a way out of this dilemma and you are going to grab it by both horns. You are going to use that email address and invite her yourself.
After all, you know that you teach a knowledge-rich, bias-free curriculum about British democracy and international politics. You know your students can answer in-depth questions about democratic principles, direct and representative democracy, the constitution, EU law, parliamentary sovereignty, the role of the judiciary, the powers of the executive and much more besides. All matters the Provocatrix has opinions on, but seemingly little knowledge of.
You know, too, that they fire questions like bullets from a Kalashnikov, that pierce straight to the heart of the hypocrisies of the adult world they are about to enter. You know they spot bias from a mile away and will shoot it dead with laser-scope precision.
In short, you know they will eat her alive.
Yes. You will email her and invite her.
Except there’s the risk of protests. There’s the extra workload it would represent. There’s the sheer fact that her presence will contribute absolutely nothing to their politics education.
There’s the disgust you feel at turning your curriculum into a circus.
And there’s planning and marking to do.
After all, you have exams to indoctrinate them for.
Tes asked the Association of School and College Leaders for the legal position on inviting controversial external speakers into school. Its response is as follows:
The legal position for schools on inviting outside speakers is that since 1 July 2015 the Prevent Duty sets out an expectation that schools should have a Visiting Speakers’ Policy (before 2015 policies on the management of visiting speakers though useful were not required),
The Prevent Statutory Guidance para 68 says:
"Specified authorities will need to…[have] robust safeguarding policies in place to identify children at risk…These policies should set out clear protocols for ensuring that any visiting speakers – whether invited by staff or by children themselves – are suitable and appropriately supervised."
You can get more sound and practical advice here.
JL Dutaut is a teacher of politics and citizenship and co-editor of the upcoming book Flip The System UK: A Teachers' Manifesto