All the kerfuffle about the Muslim schools in Birmingham, and Michael Gove announcing that all schools should promote ‘British values’ … made me wonder ‘what the heck does he think are ‘British’ values?’ I don’t know about you, but I would be very hard put to it to work that one out
David Cameron lists them as ” freedom, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions.” Straight from the playing fields of Eton.
I was going to take some pot shots at this, but I discover Nick Baines is ahead of me:
1. ‘What are the ‘British values‘ that Michael Gove wants taught in our schools? In what way are they ‘British’? Who decides what is a ‘British value’? (As I keep proposing, ‘Britishness’ is something we keep creating and not merely something we inherit from a real or imagined glorious past.)
2. Who is driving strategy for the British Humanist Association? To ride on the back of the ‘Trojan horse’ to attack faith schools seems particularly inept and disingenuous when all the schools involved are state schools. Has someone missed something here or is this just another case of prejudice leading to narrow propaganda?
3. When did ‘diversity’ become a virtue as opposed to a phenomenon? The word describes a reality, but it has become elevated to a virtue or value that has to be uncritically revered. As Mark Easton points out, one man’s diversity is another woman’s extremism. So, what are the limits of diversity, who sets them, and according to which criteria?
4. Does Ofsted retain any credibility? Either they were inept when they last did their work on these schools, or they are inept now. How are we to judge the judgements of any Ofsted inspections a question asked well before the latest credibility crisis? (This is tied in with the question of centralisation and accountability: a political dogma that proclaims decentralisation and the virtue of the small state has somehow managed to remove local accountability and replace it with centralised accountability to the Secretary of State. And nobody laughed )’
(image from stoa.co.uk )