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…)’

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16 thoughts on “BRITISH VALUES?

  1. It is next to impossible to have a school/organisation that is not bent towards one series of theories more than another. Would the same fuss be being made if it were a Bhuddist trojan horse, or an Eastern European language trojan horse. There is still a strong inclination to fear when anything muslin/Islamic is referred to, and not always rightly so.

    As for british values, init football, either smug coz your winning or brown beat and moan we wiz robbed if you’re not.

    How can anything like this be adequately policed, monitored, evaluated – whatever happens it will be reported as wrong.


    1. I think many schools already teach citizenship … but it’s one thing to teach, and another to insist on and encourage that sort of behaviour at all times. Especially if there are teachers with an underlying agenda. All very difficult and the more so because we’ve never properly understood what multiculturalism means, so we’re always on the back foot, reacting instead of taking control.


  2. Now however interesting Cameron’s latest ploy is, it doesn’t apply to me….y’see I’m just a plain, simple ole scouser, and generally were a kindly lot and we pay no attention to him!xxx


    1. Yes, and it’s an interesting speculation to work out what we bring forward from the past into the present, and in what form. Eg clearly we’re no longer an empire, but it would seem from many of our national attitudes that we still behave as if we were!


  3. Gilly, ‘they’ will be working it out on the back of the fag packet for some time to come; then guess what….it will all be watered down, or distilled, or confused, lost in the mists of time. When do we start taking pot shots at the new definitions that undoubtedly will emerge?


  4. Britishness…………… illegal wars……… make a mess of other people’s countries such as Iraq………. withdraw and leave somebody else to clean up the mess.
    Investigate what happened but be afraid to publish the report……….. anything bad postpone until after an election…………. spawn the likes of Alex Salmond…….. oh dear !


      1. Do you think so? Isn’t there a difference between ‘values’ which the government assumes can be taught in schools, and decisions driven by political situations.

        By the way, ‘citizenship’ has been taught in schools for some time – a far more rational option, in my book.


    1. He’s always worth reading and often great fun! He’s just taken over as bishop of the newly-created northern diocese so he’s now Bishop of Leeds.


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