How and Why UK Teachers are Focusing More on Social Factors in Education?

As any teacher knows, the social environment significantly influences the students' ability to learn.

Research shows that having social skills is essential for success, not only in learning but in life in general and that they are also significant for career skills such as communication, teamwork and conflict resolution to only name a few of the future challenges they may face in employment or self-employment.

For this reason, teachers in the UK have always taught and reinforced the value of good social skills by being aware of the social factors happening in society today. This includes the digital realm just as much as the physical reality. With now more than 92% of children in the UK using the internet at home and at school, it is high time to teach netiquette just as social etiquette.

Below are some of the social factors that teachers in various subjects are trying to include in their teaching to maintain a safe and welcoming environment in the classroom and beyond.

Radicalisation and Extremism

Teachers play a significant role in keeping students safe from drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and other dangers in society. Radicalisation has a similarly devastating effect on the younger generations. Thus, helping to protect students from extremism and radicalisation should be an essential part of the teacher's overall safeguarding role, which is outlined in the statutory guidance of the department of education called “Keeping Children Safe in Education”. All teachers are trained annually on how to follow this guidance in their teaching practice.

The classroom should be a safe place for students to discuss controversial issues like extremism openly. To make this possible, teachers are encouraging activities that help students challenge extremist arguments and equip them with the right knowledge to explore social and political problems and make reasoned arguments about these issues.

LGBTQ+ Awareness

Unfortunately, a lot of LGBT pupils today are still being bullied for being who they are. Every young person deserves to be accepted by their family and society regardless of their gender and identity. Thus, teachers are now teaching about LGBTQ+ identities and issues to spread awareness and prevent bullying.

Teachers are now undergoing online training designed to help them understand the significant issues surrounding LGBTQ+ and help create an all-inclusive classroom environment for their students. The online education teacher awareness training will include thorough discussions about sexual orientation, gender identity, and understanding discrimination and hate crime in the LGBTQ+ community.

Toxic Trio Awareness

"Toxic trio" refers to the issues of substance misuse, domestic abuse, and mental health challenges that many children have to endure in the hands of their families. It is a concept that everyone who has safeguarding responsibilities, especially teachers, should be aware of. That way, they can identify risk factors and immediately act in the students' best interests.

Teachers are now trying to understand how members of the toxic trio think so that they can provide appropriate and effective interventions. Providing adequate support to the kids can help to minimise their risk of experiencing long-term negative consequences resulting from these abuses.


Thanks to the Internet, students are now more connected than before. While this is great, this also comes with safety risks, especially for younger users. As a teacher, you are in a unique position to ensure that kids are protected when using the Internet.

Teachers these days are now becoming more aware of e-safety. According to the Department for Education, e-safety refers to the school's ability to protect, safeguard, and educate students in the acceptable use of online communications and technology, including social media. The schools are also required to have a mechanism to identify, intervene, and escalate any incidents where the students face online threats and harassment. They should be well informed about the ICO guidelines for child privacy for social media and apply them at their setting.

Closing Thoughts

Social skills are becoming increasingly important as students are confronted with modern society’s lifestyle choices where human contact changes and yet remains as vital as ever. They should therefore form the basis of any teaching and many teachers in the UK are implementing this successfully.

Share this