Anger after Year 9 pupils ‘taught Poles in Peterborough are drug-dealers who scare the elderly’

A website has apologised for any offence caused after Year 9 pupils were allegedly taught that Poles in Peterborough were drug-dealers who hang around street corners drunk and start fights.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 2:35 pm
Updated Monday, 11th February 2019, 9:38 am
Education news
Education news

A teaching document claimed to have been handed out to geography pupils in a school outside of Peterborough discussed the impact of Poles who have come to Peterborough.

It stated: “There has been social unrest in Peterborough between the English, Polish and other eastern Europeans. For example selling of drugs, drunks hanging about on the corners of streets.

“Police are often called due to arguments and sometimes fighting between groups. This behaviour is problematic for the elderly as they feel isolated and scared to go out of their homes for fear of being mugged/assaulted.”

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The worksheet also stated that there are 10-15 people living in some terraced houses in Peterborough, leading to rubbish building up outside which attracted rats.

It added: “This is an environmental problem as young children can catch dangerous diseases along with the elderly because these groups are more vulnerable to getting ill.”

The GCSE Geography worksheet - which was seen by the Peterborough Telegraph - was on the Tes Global Group website but has now been taken down.

Tes describes itself as a “professional collaboration and talent network of over 10 million education professionals worldwide”.

The Tes resources team said: “We were grateful that Jakub Krupta brought this resource to our attention and it was taken down as quickly as possible this morning following his communication.

“As you will know our platform hosts a wealth of resources contributed by teachers from all over the world. We run the site as an open access platform and we are not a publisher, so we are not able to check every single resource that is uploaded. We rely on our community to report any concerns and when they do, we respond as quickly as possible.

“We are continuing to investigate this resource. It is our intention to be a platform for quality and freely shared teaching resources and we do everything in our power to maintain this. This was the first complaint that we received on this resource. We are continuing our investigation into it and obviously apologise for any offence that it caused.”

Jakub Krupa, a community activist and board member of the Polish Social and Cultural Association in London, the largest and oldest Polish community centre in the UK, said: “This material is disappointing as it is factually highly incorrect and potentially inflammatory for relations between Poles and Brits, using lazy stereotypes and outright false statements to present the Polish community in Peterborough in negative light.

“I can only imagine the distress it is likely to have caused to students of Polish heritage in the school or schools where it was used.”

The worksheet does mention that Polish workers do many jobs that locals would not, such as: labouring on building sites, working in the fields and pot-washing in restaurants.

It concluded: “It can be argued by some people that the Polish workforce are more reliable, rarely sick and very hard-working in comparison to the English workforce.”

The worksheet was revealed by Professor Tanja Bueltmann - the founder of the #EUcitizensChampion Campaign - on Twitter. She said it was given to Year 9 Geography pupils, one of whom was Polish, but declined to reveal the school.

She tweeted: “I have never seen anything as bad as this before. Baseless references to social unrest; to a negative impact on the elderly who, according to the worksheet, live in ‘fear of being mugged/assaulted’; to rubbish building up; and to children being at risk of catching diseases.”

Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich said: “That’s probably one of the most disgusting comments I have ever heard. The Polish in my experience are one of the most hard-working communities.

“Whilst there are good and bad in every community they very certainly make a huge contribution in the city.”