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BNP leaflet targets head

Article | Published in TES Newspaper on 28 July, 2006 | By: Adam Luck

East London school is accused of 'child molestation' and 'brainwashing' as party seeks second councillor in Redbridge

A school has been accused of "mental child molestation", attacked for recruiting ethnic-minority pupils and its head called a "dripping wet liberal" in a British National Party by-election leaflet.

Woodbridge high, in east London, was named in the leaflet handed out during campaigning for an election in a marginal ward this month, in Redbridge.

The school was accused of "brainwashing" pupils with a "factually incorrect" syllabus and criticised for promoting Black History Month, which is supported by the Government.

Andrew Beaumont, head of the 1,400-pupil school, in Woodford Green, was also accused of recruiting children from the more ethnically diverse borough of Hackney.

The BNP polled 800 votes in the by-election on July 13 which was won by the Conservatives with 1,014 votes. Conservative Party legal experts are examining the BNP leaflet to see if its content breaks electoral or libel laws. The BNP already has one councillor in the borough.

Simon Shaw, the school's National Union of Teachers representative, said:

"It represents a new low. I find it sickening that they can accuse teachers of mental molestation when all they are doing is a good job. The problem is that the BNP and far right are already involving themselves in governing schools and are now targeting schools and teachers.

"You have to ask where this is going to stop. We are entitled to be very worried."

Danny Warville, the BNP candidate, is pictured in the "Redbridge Patriot"

leaflet which claimed Woodbridge had been turning away local pupils in favour of those outside the borough. This, it claimed, "may have something to do with the Head who is a dripping wet liberal".

It said: "Not content with Black History Month, special emphasis has been placed on teaching children about black achievement in literature and art (in English) and have also been taught that blacks have invented many of the fundamentals (lightbulb, refrigeration, etc) of Western European civilisation (in science)!

"This is factually incorrect, wrong, brainwashing at its worst (mental child-molestation) and needs to be dropped forthwith."

In a statement, Mr Beaumont said: "The school regards the campaign material as inappropriate, insensitive and unworthy of a multi-cultural community.

It regrets any disappointment that the material and any subsequent attention might have brought to pupils, parents, staff and anyone else associated with the school.

"The school has a duty of care and legal obligation to promote racial harmony and community cohesion. It does this with integrity and to the very best of its ability.

"Very many observers and visitors, including Ofsted (November 2005) note the strong moral, social and cultural development within the school. Ofsted asserts that Woodbridge is a school in which 'every child really matters'.

The school is justifiably proud of Ofsted's assertion."

Lee Scott, the local Conservative MP, said: "I have referred this and other leaflets to party HQ to see if any laws have been broken. It is atrocious and I could not believe they could bring a school into this rabble-rousing literature."

Mr Warville could not be contacted but Phil Edwards, a BNP spokesman, said:

"There is mental molestation in our schools. This school is bussing in black kids when there are local white kids who cannot get in. It is an absolute bloody disgrace, and if you think that teaching things that are totally untrue is OK, then you have real problems."

* newsdesk@tes.co.uk


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