Teaching union questions Toby Young’s future at New Schools Network

CREDIT: This story was first seen in Tes

NEU teaching union speaks out after Toby Young’s resignation from Office for Students, condemning his ‘appalling sexist and misogynistic comments’, Tes reports.

The largest education union in the country has questioned Toby Young’s continuing employment at the New Schools Network, after the controversial journalist and free school founder stepped down from his role at the university regulator.

The NEU teaching union said “questions should be raised” about his future at the charity, which supports the creation of new free schools, because of “repugnant statements” he had made in the past.

This morning, Mr Young announced he had resigned as a director of the Office for Students in a blog for The Spectator, nine days after his appointment had been unveiled by the government.

The appointment had drawn criticism from politicians on both sides of the House of Commons because of articles he had written – including about the inclusivity agenda and eugenics – as well as crude comments on social media, including about women’s breasts.

On Sunday the prime minister Theresa May defended his appointment but said she was “not impressed” by his comments and that he would be sacked if he repeated them in the future.

However, Mr Young said he had decided to step down because the controversy over his appointment had become a “distraction” from the “vital work” of the OfS. “Education is my passion and I want now to be able to get on with the work I have been doing to promote and support the free schools movement,” he added.

The NEU teaching union – which had criticised Mr Young’s appointment – welcomed the news of his resignation.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the union, said: “Toby Young has at last recognised what was so obvious to so many: he is not fit to hold a position in government, particularly given his views on ‘progressive eugenics’.

“Toby Young’s appalling sexist and misogynistic comments – and his complete disdain for anyone who dares to challenge them – makes the prime minister’s defence of his appointment completely baffling to so many people who were rightly appalled and offended by his views.”

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However, Ms Bousted went further by questioning his future at the New Schools Network.

“Toby Young remains, however, director of the New Schools Network – a charity which has received millions of pounds of government funding. Now that knowledge of Young’s repugnant statements are public knowledge, questions must be raised about his continuing employment in this role.”

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