Update for schools: 13 October 2021

Advice for schools on political activities

Ahead of local elections taking place next year, please find below a reminder of the DfE’s advice for schools on political issues and the use of schools for party political activities:

  • A local authority shall not publish or arrange for the publication of any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party. (section 2(1) of the Local Government Act 1986);
  • The local authority, governing body and head teacher shall forbid
  1. the pursuit of partisan political activities by any of those registered pupils at a maintained school who are junior pupils, and
  2. the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school. (section 406(1) of the Education Act 1996);
  • The local authority, governing body and head teacher shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to secure that where political issues are brought to the attention of pupils while they are
  1. in attendance at a maintained school, or
  2. taking part in extra-curricular activities which are provided or organised for registered pupils at the school by or on behalf of the school,

they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views. (section 407(1) of the Education Act 1996).

The DfE advice states that all staff have a responsibility to ensure that they act appropriately in terms of their behaviour, the views they express (in particular political views) and the use of school resources at all times, and should not use school resources for party political purposes. (paragraph 5.33 of the departmental advice found here: Staffing and employment advice for schools (publishing.service.gov.uk))

The above applies to maintained schools, and academies are under a similar obligation (as mentioned in the pre-election guidance found here: Pre-election guidance for schools and multi-academy trusts - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If schools have any concerns or queries about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice (education@birmingham.gov.uk).  


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