The Londoner: Tory teachers seek support
A SUPPORT group for Conservative teachers who feel “politically isolated” has been launched to spread the message that it is OK to be a Tory and a teacher. Stephen James, who says he is “the only out-and-proud” Tory teacher in his school, set up Conservative Friends of Education after he was branded a “fascist” for speaking about his beliefs during the general election campaign.
According to a poll by the Times Educational Supplement, only seven per cent of the teaching profession voted Conservative but the group has already attracted interest from nursery workers, school teachers and university professors. Conservative MP Damian Collins, who represents James’s Folkestone and Hythe constituency, told The Londoner: “I know that he’s not alone in feeling like this. Other teachers who are also members of the Conservative Party that I’ve spoken to have shared with me that their political beliefs have to be hidden in the profession.
“I can see why he is passionate about changing this perception, the Conservative Party stands for a positive message of aspiration and the Conservative Friends of Education will provide a rally point for like-minded people who work in education — I fully support his endeavours.”
James says his group has already received backing from Penny Mordaunt and Michael Gove and adds that he hopes it will encourage close links between the party and people employed in education. James plans to attend Teaching Union Conferences with his group and stand proudly among his Left-wing colleagues.
Speaking to The Londoner, Stephen James said: “The members are relieved that they have found like-minded people.” “The organisation seeks to unite rather than divide. It is not policy focused, instead we promote aspiration in line with Conservative policies,” he added. Everyone needs a safe space.