The Focus on British Values

November 5, 2014 in British Values

This is part of a series of posts exploring the idea of teaching British Values, leading up to our workshop for teachers on the subject in early December.

From September 2014, part of Ofsted’s school inspections involves assessing how schools and educators

‘actively promotes … fundamental British values’

This emphasis on teaching British Values raises several questions. The first is why now? This is partly the result of recent allegations that some schools in Birmingham were spreading an extremist Islamic ideology. Another reason is a long standing public discourse of negativity towards immigration and the EU and a fear (amongst the media and some politicians) that ‘Britishness’ was being eroded.

The second question is what are British Values? Ofsted defines them as ‘democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs’. All of these are positive values but what makes them uniquely British? And who decides this definition – the government?  The media?

A third question is how are schools supposed to implement this agenda? Can students learn about these values in isolation or should they be connected to European values and our place in a shared world? Can British Values be incorporated into teaching on universal values and rights?


These, alongside other questions, will be discussed in more detail in the coming weeks. If you are interested in booking a place on this workshop, please click here.