The NEU believes that education can and does change lives.
The long-standing and many-sided Israel/ Palestine conflict generates a wide variety of deeply-held opinions. People supporting both sides of the conflict often hold strong and passionate views.
The life of a school or college is strongly influenced by outside factors and the conflict can pose difficult challenges for staff. Staff may find that they must deal with the sensitive task of responding to pupils’ reactions to violent events, particularly when there is a flare up in hostilities as in spring 2021 and autumn 2023. The NEU is confident that its members are skilled professionals who can meet the challenge of educating young people who can develop a firm understanding of human rights and can contribute to a more peaceful future. This advice aims to support members to do so.
It is important that any discussions within schools and colleges – both those formally arranged as part of classroom teaching and those that may take place informally between students and between staff – are conducted respectfully and calmly.
The advice contained in this document is relevant to all schools and colleges, though some of its content may be more appropriate to some sectors than others.
While some of the challenges staff face may require short-term measures to be taken following an escalation of violence in Israel/ Palestine, there are also longer-term issues around antiracism that can be addressed on an ongoing basis through the curriculum and by the promotion of a positive all-school environment and ethos.