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Hewett Academy defends talk highlighting self confidence of Donald Trump

PUBLISHED: 09:23 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:05 11 March 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the Trump National Golf Club, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

He is the American presidential contender whose controversial comments sparked condemnation from leaders across the world – but should he be a role model for our children?

That is the question prompted by an assembly at the Hewett Academy which saw vice-principal Antony Little highlight how Donald Trump’s levels of self-confidence helped him rocket to the top of the Republican polls, despite holding divisive views and facing more experienced rivals.

News of the talk to Year 11 pupils was criticised by some people on social media, who raised controversial statements and positions Trump has taken since declaring his candidacy last June.

One Twitter user, @stan_f_, said: “The story about Hewett encouraging people to be more like Donald Trump actually just sounds like satire.”

However, the school said the assembly was to highlight the importance of confidence and was not an endorsement of his views.

Controversy has swirled around Mr Trump since he entered the presidential race, centring on his claims Mexico was sending rapists into America, his apparent mocking of a journalist with a disability, saying former Vietnam prisoner-of-war John McCain was not a war hero, and calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US.

The latter issue led to worldwide condemnation.

Despite this, he remains ahead in the Republican polls, and has won the most delegates in the race for the nomination so far.

Hewett Academy spokesman James Goffin said: “Donald Trump was discussed by staff and students as part of an assembly looking at the importance of confidence, with students themselves first raising Mr Trump’s name as the most well-known presidential candidate.

“It touched on how – despite views that many find objectionable – Mr Trump is favourite to win a presidential nomination ahead of other apparently more reasoned and qualified candidates, in part because of his immense self-belief.

“At no time were Mr Trump’s views in any way endorsed.

“The assembly also looked at research on exam performance that asked students how confident they felt ahead of a test where they had no prior knowledge of the topic, and that showed a link between confidence and performance.

“Using current affairs can be a useful way of engaging students in otherwise abstract subjects, and we believe our students are more than capable of reaching their own judgments on Mr Trump’s views – which they were already well aware of from news reporting.”

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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