23 Oct 2014
They seem to be the only thing politicians and Ofsted are talking about nowadays, if you read the press. What with Trojan Horse, UKIP and the never-ending tension between Ofsted and the DfE, the issue is being stretched to the point where something has to give.
It's not likely to be either of the above, since both organisations can pass things on to schools to worry about, once they've made their own capital out of them.
Gove wanted to consult on whether to force schools to promote them; Morgan points out that (new) academies have this built into their funding agreements and schools haven't really taken too much interest in them. Not even the five Trojan Horse schools, if Wilshaw is to be believed.
But what are they exactly and how do you know whether you are promoting them or not - actively or otherwise?
Gove listed them as:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect
- tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
None of which are particularly British values, are they? Well ...
Democracy is what LAs are based on: the government took the best schools away from this democratic control.
The rule of law is apparently something that should be uniquely British as we plan to withdraw from the European laws.
Individual liberty allows parents a free choice of school ... provided they can afford to pay the fees, coach their children or move into the right catchment area.
Mutual respect is a difficult concept for politicians to extol, when you hear the way they talk about - and even to - each other.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs is very laudable - and who would argue with it, but schools are required by law to engage in a daily collective act of worship. This isn't very tolerant of atheists and these worships are predominantly christian. Difficult to be tolerant when schools are inherently dominated by a single faith, even if it's a faith which itself is very tolerant of others. Also, there are a great many more beliefs we should be tolerant of, such as homosexuality - can't we have more of these in the list?
What would you have on your British Values curriculum?
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