Labour has accused the Conservatives of spreading propaganda in schools by distributing campaign material under the guise of an educational “citizenship and democracy pack”.
A “Conservative campaign toolkit” sent to Tory councillors and candidates for the 2014 local elections contains a brochure about “the political process and the Conservative party”.
Candidates are instructed to distribute the pack around schools and colleges, but Labour said it contained overtly partisan content that could be in breach of rules about political bias in education.
The pack includes a statement from the Conservative Minister for Sport, Helen Grant, in which she says: “What is the most important thing the Conservative Party has accomplished whilst in government? Dealing with the legacy of immense financial mess from the previous government is our most important task.”
And Employment Minister Esther McVey is quoted as saying: “I recognise only too well the vulnerable state the country has been left in by Labour.”
The Department for Education’s governors’ handbook, published in May, says “academy trusts, governing bodies, headteachers and LAs [local authorities] must not allow the promotion of one-sided political views …. Where political issues are covered, opposing views must be presented in a balanced way.”
Shadow Schools minister Kevin Brennan said: “The Tories need to justify what looks like getting brazen party-political material in to our schools by the back door.”