Prevent Watch

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RAPID RESPONSE: RELIGION, ‘BRITISH VALUES’ AND EQUALITIES TEACHING IN THE CONTEXT OF PREVENT

The Birmingham Trojan Horse affair – a supposed plot to Islamicise schools – which hit the headlines in March 2014 has been the main impetus for changes to the Government’s Prevent strategy. The affair was viewed as deriving from a failure of integration of some within Britain’s Muslim communities and their embrace of values inimical to democracy, the rule of law and tolerance toward other religions. New guidance on fundamental British values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and religious tolerance) was put forward to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. Yet Ofsted reports prior to 2014 had found no evidence of anything untoward in the schools in question and had declared the pupils to be well-prepared. Additionally, professional misconduct cases against teachers allegedly involved in the plot collapsed because of improprieties in the pursuit of the prosecution case. Yet the narrative of a threat to integration and […]

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Schools must help promote ‘British values’, says Ofsted chief

Chief inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, delivered a speech at the Policy Exchange in London last night. Entitled ‘The Ties that Bind’, her speech discussed the promotion of so-called British values, the encouragement of cohesion and integration and why schools must be the forums for understanding and spreading these ideals. “The current meaning of the term ‘British values’ was first defined in the 2011 Prevent Strategy,” Spielman said. “The role of schools in promoting them was formalised in Department for Education guidance in 2014, to help both independent and state schools understand their responsibilities. This guidance set out the duty of all schools in England, state and independent, to actively promote the four British values of: democracy; the rule of law; individual liberty; and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” Read more