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Diane Abbott gets trigger warning to protect pupils from her views

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP had the Labour whip suspended earlier this year for a letter published in The Observer
The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP had the Labour whip suspended earlier this year for a letter published in The Observer - Eddie Mulholland

Diane Abbott has been given a trigger warning to protect school pupils from her views, The Telegraph can reveal.

The MP’s career is covered by a range of classroom resources for primary schools, but the teaching materials come with a disclaimer about her “controversial” opinions.

Teachers are advised to shield pupils from Ms Abbott’s potentially “offensive” views in warnings included in pre-prepared lesson plans and presentations.

The off-the-shelf classroom resources created by British educational publisher Twinkl suggest that young children should not be allowed to research the politician too thoroughly.

Illustrated resources seen by The Telegraph include an overview of “Diane Abbott and black UK politicians”, and a template for a KS1 school assembly on “black British history”.

All materials carry a warning, for the benefit of teachers, which states: “Please note: although Diane Abbott has achieved great things in politics, we would advise against allowing your class to freely research more about her life.”

It adds: “Some of her recent comments have been controversial and potentially offensive.”

The teaching materials containing the disclaimers have been produced by teachers for the publisher Twinkl, which for a fee provides ready-made presentations and resources for schools.

Illustrated resources for schoolchildren include an overview of ‘Diane Abbott and black UK politicians’
Illustrated resources for schoolchildren include an overview of ‘Diane Abbott and black UK politicians’

The warnings contained in the material concerning Ms Abbott do not explain which of her views may be found controversial or offensive by pupils.

The Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP, 70, had the Labour whip suspended earlier this year for a letter published in The Observer in which she suggested that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people are not subject to racism “all their lives”.

She wrote that while white people “with points of difference” may suffer prejudice, they have not suffered the same racism as black people.

A KS2 overview covering 2,000 years of black British history from the Roman invasion to the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 carried disclaimers for only two issues: the subject of slavery, which may be “too upsetting for children”, and the opinions of Ms Abbott.

The series of ready-made presentations for young children do celebrate the career of Ms Abbott.

One states of her becoming an MP: “The 1987 general election was a watershed moment, not just for Diane Abbott but also for the representation of black and minority ethnic people in British politics.”

Another presentation for primary school pupils states: “She has been vocal about what she believes in and doesn’t change her mind easily. Diane took up jobs she believed would help her make a difference.”

Teaching materials also comment on racist abuse Ms Abbott has received.

Diane Abbott and Twinkl were contacted for comment.