Letter from a Concerned Grandmother

In August 2021, Patricia Hutchinson, a concerned grandmother, wrote to the then Under Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, to express her concerns about what her grandchildren, who live in rural Sussex, were being taught at school. How can it be good when teachers are encouraged to use their professional authority to preach from what often seems like a new, especially intolerant, religion which uses ethnicity as a main way of dividing people? White children may despair but so too may non-white children when they come to realise that many adults think their skin colour is the most important thing about them.

We think her concerns are shared by many and publish her letter here. We hope that you too will raise questions and concerns when they arise, difficult as this often is. It could be talking to schools, writing letters to councillors and MPs – who are after all, meant to be responsible for education not indoctrination! If you are thinking of doing this but would like to talk through your ideas, do get in touch.

My understanding was that Critical Race Theory has no place in the British education system.

That was the view espoused by Kemi Badenoch. She claimed teachers who present the idea of white privilege as fact (rather than a contested theory) to their pupils risk breaking the law.

I asked my grandchildren, both aged 10, who attend the local village primary school, if the school had ever said anything about black people. I phrased my question carefully so as to not put any words or ideas into their mouths.

They responded that they had been taught about white privilege and had been told that ‘black people are better and more important than white people’. That ‘every time the teacher looks at a picture of a white person, like a white man’, he always says ‘it would be much better if it was a black woman’

(I am using my grandchildren’s own words as far as possible.)

My grandson said it means ‘if you go for a job and you are white and a black person goes for the job they will get it not the white person so what’s the point?’ He said when he has to write an essay the teacher tells him to ‘not write it as a white man’. My granddaughter said they have to do projects about their black heroes but they ‘don’t have any black heroes so that means we have to lie.’ She said they (the teachers) never stop talking about what colour people are.

My grandson said ‘why can’t they just treat everyone the same?’

He said he doesn’t think that black people are better, he thinks everyone is the same and he thinks the teachers just lie so he ‘doesn’t believe anything the teachers tell him about anything.’ My granddaughter agreed she doesn’t believe anything they say either.

I then asked what other things the school tells them about of what is going on in the world.

They said they had been told the pandemic will last forever. That the teachers make a fuss if you get close to them because ‘you are putting them in danger.’ Teachers also tell them the whole planet is in danger because of climate change and it is people’s fault.

I have to say I was both deeply shocked and totally dismayed that the education system is preaching this divisive doctrine to young children. I was equally dismayed that my grandchildren have effectively been forced to conclude that teachers just lie to you and are not worth listening to and that there isn’t much point in trying to get a good job if you are white because you won’t get it.

However, I am glad they have concluded they are being told lies since the picture being painted of oppressive racial divides, climate destruction and a never-ending pandemic must be traumatising to many young minds. Critical Social Justice certainly won’t help churn out productive members of society, but it might well encourage confusion and cynicism among the younger generation.

My question is: if this divisive ideology of critical race theory or indeed any form of critical theory coupled with a no-hope message of doom and gloom continue to be preached to young children what does this government think the future going to look like?