Bleating About ‘British Values’ Will Accomplish Nothing
Two words have played a huge part in political discourse recently – “British values”. Education Secretary Michael Gove has expressed desire for schools to “actively promote” these values in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, in which concerns were raised about hardline Muslims influencing schools in Birmingham.
David Cameron has also spoken out in favour of Gove’s proposal, suggesting that the signing of the Magna Carta should be central to the History curriculum. There’s a certain irony to that, given that Cameron’s knowledge of the 13th century document was shown to be rather shaky when he was questioned on a talk show in America!
On paper, the notion of infusing education with “British values” actually sounds honourable enough. Students absolutely should be taught about the fundamental principles of this country and the historical steps that made the country what it is today. However, the terminology is a bit of a red herring when no one can actually define what “British values” are.