British Values

But what are 'British values'?

According to Ofsted, 'fundamental British values' are:

  • democracy

  • the rule of law

  • individual liberty

  • mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.

School Inspection Handbook from September 2015

How must we teach it?

Advice from the Department for Education is that British values should be promoted through SMSC.

For maintained schools, this is set out in Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC.

What must be taught?

The advice here is basically the same for maintained schools ('state' schools) and independent schools (private schools, academies and free schools):

  • Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
  • enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely
  • enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England
  • further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures
  • encourage respect for other people, and
  • encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.

The only difference for independent schools is in the penultimate paragraph, which now includes them in requirements regarding the Equality Act's protected characteristics:

  • encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.