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Media Literacy

Nine in ten teachers want media literacy in the national curriculum


Nine in 10 teachers want media literacy to be an explicit part of the national curriculum, according to research findings.

A report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Media Literacy today calls for media literacy skills, such as fact checking and the creation of digital media, to be integrated into the English national curriculum.

The introduction to the report says that Covid has demonstrated “just how dangerous” disinformation can be to public health and the “considerable harm” that can be inflicted on any individual misled by information online.

It says it is “crucial” that children and young people are educated to “identify sites to trust” and “appraise the content of what we read”.

It also calls for the concepts of disinformation, misinformation and malinformation to be included in the curriculum.

The report includes polling of 6,500 teachers, conducted by survey app Teacher Tapp, which found that nine in 10 teachers wanted media literacy to be explicitly included in the national curriculum, excluding the 8 per cent who said the question was not relevant to them or that they couldn’t answer.

The responses were similar across primary and secondary schools, although there were some differences across age groups, with 92 percent of teachers in their 20s being supportive of the call, compared with 86 percent of over 50s.

Further research by Teacher Tapp found that many teachers said media literacy was already being included as part of their school’s curriculum, with 47 per cent saying it was included as part of computing lessons and 35 per cent saying it was included as part of personal, social , health and economic education.

But 10 per cent said it was not included as part of any subject and 23 per cent said they did know if it was.

The survey also suggested high levels of media illiteracy among some students, with teachers working in schools in England’s most deprived areas stating that only 37 per cent of their pupils were media literate.

The new report calls for a mandatory educational levy on social media companies to be explored, in order to fund off-platform initiatives delivered by grassroots media literacy, online safety and mental wellbeing organisations.

It also recommends the rollout of a professional development media literacy “train-the-trainer” scheme. It says this should be piloted in areas within England’s 55 education “cold spots” identified as part of the government’s Leveling Up White Paper.

The report says that the Department for Education (DfE) has previously told the APPG that “there are many opportunities across the curriculum to improve digital literacy, in subjects such as computing, English, history and citizenship” but that the group believes this confuses media literacy with digital literacy, which is different.

It says that, currently, the programs of study for citizenship, history and English across all key stages do not explicitly refer to digital media or media literacy skills, such as identifying misinformation, disinformation and malinformation.

Conservative MP Damian Collins, chair of the APPG, said it was “crucial” that children were educated so that they could identify sites to trust and make informed choices about news they shared.

He added: “Teachers and schools must be given more support to effectively embed media literacy across the curriculum.

“Our ambitions of making the country the safest place to be online can only be met when we also level up opportunities for high-quality media literacy learning.”

The DfE has been contacted for comment.


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