Prevent Watch

The British Values Discussion

Date: November 2015
Gender: Female
Location: Greater London

SA was in her form class in which a discussion was initiated concerning the notion of “British Values”. Her form tutor posed a number of questions to the class on issues such as democracy, governance, the law in the United Kingdom and Parliament. He wanted the class to evaluate whether such political structures were positive or negative. He then asked SA and her fellow students to fill out the associated questionnaire.

SA wanted to know why they were being asked such questions, as this was form time and not in the context of a politics class. Her form tutor replied that they are discussing a number of different types of laws such as Hindu and Christian law. He then refereed to Shariah law in a derogatory manner, calling it “brutal.” He referred to Islam’s penal code and marriage laws.

PREVENT Watch has seen a number of cases in which questionnaires concerning Islam are given to students. These questions it would appear seem to try and categorise a student’s theological background to ascertain whether they are considered “extremist” or not. What is alarming about these types of questionnaires is that it seeks to vilify normative Islamic opinions. Furthermore, the questions posed are generally not age appropriate since students of the age of SA may not have the capacity to discuss such subjects. This is especially compounded by the fact that education is becoming more securitised, and schools are implementing the PREVENT duty under the guise of safeguarding.

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