Schools must promote “British values”, the head of Ofsted has said, stating that establishments with “cultural conservative or religious values” must be “exposed”.
Amanda Spielman said schools have a vital role in upholding principles that “make us a beacon of liberalism, tolerance and fairness”, in a speech to the Birmingham Education Partnership conference.
She told officials in the city to place these at “the very heart of the curriculum”, especially “in subjects such as history, English and geography”, and urged schools to resist “superficial displays of British values or tick box exercises”.
“We know that even in the UK some children are being brought up in an environment that is actively hostile to some of these values,” said Spielman. “So the education system has a vital role in inculcating and upholding them.”
Declaring that education had to be a “values anchor in a stormy sea”, the chief inspector of England’s schools also linked promotion of so-called British values to the Trojan Horse scandal, in which Salafist Muslims were found to have staged a takeover of a number of Birmingham schools and implemented hardline Islamic policies.
The chief inspector said, whilst differences in values were “normal and inevitable”, there was a problem with parents who were “uncomfortable with the full and varied education on offer in local mainstream schools” and seek to send their children elsewhere.
“Usually alternatives that they perceive as fitting better with very conservative cultural or religious values, such that young people in these alternatives are not being prepared for success in modern Britain,” Spielman argued.
“It is vital that we expose the risks of these so-called schools and help parents understand the dangers.”
‘Talking About Terrorism’ recommends teachers “invite children to write a letter to a terrorist”. https://t.co/wb7Kt37tYc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 30, 2017
Earlier this year, a private Jewish girls’ school failed its third inspection because it does not teach pupils about homosexuality or gender reassignment.
Ofsted said pupils at the north London school, which teaches children aged up to eight, were being denied “a full understanding of fundamental British values”.
“This restricts pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and does not promote equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles,” the report claimed.
Inspectors testing a Christian school for “British values” were accused of “completely inappropriate” questioning after they reduced a 10-year-old girl to tears by quizzing her on lesbianism and whether she felt “trapped in the wrong body”.
Tens of Christian schools, many of them in rural, predominantly white, areas of England have been downgraded as a result of the test, which was conceived by neoliberal former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan who said such schools deny children “the opportunity to flourish in a modern multicultural Britain”.