British Values

25 Aug

On 23 June 2014, the DfE launched a consultation on the promotion of British values.  (Some snidely suggest that this could be Citizenship by another name.)  “British values” are being defined as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

This exercise is part of an invitation to review Independent School Standards, which require independent schools to promote British values.   The purpose of revising these standards is to promote British values.   How well this is done in independent schools will inform inspectors’ judgements on the quality of leadership and management.

Currently, maintained schools are not required to promote British values, though it is the DfE’s intention that schools should do so, particularly after the Birmingham alleged “Trojan Horse” saga.  Civil servants intend to amend the Governors’ Handbook to take account of this aspect of school life.

The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. The  definition has been used in the Independent School Standards since January 2013 and remains the same in the new standards.

Schools will be expected to focus on, and be able to show how their work with pupils is effective in embedding fundamental British values. Actively promoting these values also means challenging pupils, staff or parents, who express opinions contrary to basic British values, which make explicit that extremism should not form part of the curriculum or teaching, that students are encouraged to respect other people and no student is discriminated against contrary to the Equality Act 2010.

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