Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth has been called unfit for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific inaccuracies and ‘sentimental mush’.
Schools will have to issue a warning before they show pupils Al Gore’s controversial film about global warming, a judge indicated yesterday.
The move follows a High Court action by a father who accused the Government of ‘brainwashing’ children with propaganda by showing it in the classroom.
Stewart Dimmock said the former U.S. Vice-President’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is unfit for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific inaccuracies and ‘sentimental mush’.
He wants the video banned after it was distributed with four other short films to 3,500 schools in February.
Mr Justice Burton is due to deliver a ruling on the case next week, but yesterday he said he would be saying that Gore’s Oscar-winning film does promote ‘partisan political views’.
This means that teachers will have to warn pupils that there are other opinions on global warming and they should not necessarily accept the views of the film.
He said: ‘The result is I will be declaring that, with the guidance as now amended, it will not be unlawful for the film to be shown.’
The outcome marks a partial victory for Mr Dimmock, who had accused the ‘New Labour Thought Police’ of indoctrinating youngsters by handing out thousands of Climate Change Packs to schools.
Mr Dimmock, a lorry driver from Dover with children aged 11 and 14, said at the outset of the hearing: ‘I wish my children to have the best education possible, free from bias and political spin, and Mr Gore’s film falls far short of the standard required.’
His solicitor John Day, said yesterday that the Government had been forced to make ‘a U-turn’, but said it did not go far enough.
He said ‘no amount of turgid guidance’ could change the fact that the film is unfit for consumption in the classroom.
The case arises from a decision in February by the then Education Secretary Alan Johnson that DVDs of the film would be sent to all secondary schools in England, along with a multimedia CD produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs containing two short films about climate change and an animation about the carbon cycle.
David Miliband, who was Environment-Secretary when the school packs were announced, said at the time: ‘The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over.’
But during the three-day hearing, the court heard that the critically-acclaimed film contains a number of inaccuracies, exaggerations and statements about global warming for which there is currently insufficient scientific evidence.
The Climate Change Resource Pack has now been sent to more than 3,500 schools and is aimed at key stage 3 pupils – those aged 11 to 16.
Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan said last night: ‘The judge’s decision is clear that schools can continue to use An Inconvenient Truth as part of their teaching on climate change in accordance with the amended guidance, which will be available online today.
‘We have updated the accompanying guidance, as requested by the judge to make it clearer for teachers as to the stated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change position on a number of scientific points raised in the film.’