Brexit: The Impacts In A Primary School
Whatever your political stance and opinions regarding Britain remaining or leaving the European Union, it would be impossible to deny that people have been arguing about it ever since June’s referendum. The same can be said in schools, even primary schools. Some children forcefully regurgitate their parents’ and grandparents’ views; others have already considered the impact on themselves and have begun to let it affect their behaviour and attitude in school. That probably seems like quite a strong statement to make; let me explain…
Children in Key Stage Two (ages 7 to 11) must take a foreign language and the expectation of the National Curriculum is that pupils make significant progress in one language over the course of those four years. “We don’t need to speak a foreign language now that we only want to do business with America” was one pupil’s forthright declaration when presented with a language lesson. Without the European Union’s support, could this pupil actually be entirely confused and the ability to communicate in other languages be even more important?
Ripples of xenophobia seem to have grasped the country recently. People being told to return to their homelands (even though they were born here or have British nationality) seems to be a more common occurrence than in other recent years. Misinformed xenophobic comments, some bordering on being racist, have risen in the past few weeks in school too. One such example involved a boy stating that he hated Germany, everything about Germans and that the only good thing to have ever come out of the country was Volkswagen cars. Further questioning from one of his peers revealed that it stemmed back to World War Two, yet he had not been willing or felt able to state this previously. Thankfully, another pupil intervened (I was listening from afar) and told him to stop being so silly and that Hitler wasn’t even German anyway!
Enough of the negativity though… there is one huge positive thing to have happened recently. Pupils have definitely developed a real passion for democracy and some even going so far as to say they love politics. In several years of teaching, I have never experienced this before; to see children debating and sharing opinions (usually about Boris Johnson being somewhat crazy!) is fantastic. If we can continue to foster this love of politics, then perhaps we will soon have a generation who are informed and excited about the power they have with the votes and choices that they make.