August 13, 2014
Because ‘British Values’ has now become nothing but a euphemism for Cultural Marxism.
Independent schools and academies may be forced to drop Christmas celebrations under rules designed to tackle extremists, critics warned yesterday.
They say 6,000 private schools will be compelled to adopt political correctness.
Following the Trojan Horse scandal, in which Birmingham schools came under the sway of Islamic extremists, the Education Department proposed that independent schools must ‘actively promote’ British values – said to include respect for legally ‘protected characteristics’.
Critics warn the rules will bring a series of unintended consequences, including preventing teachers from using words like husband or wife when discussing marriage; making teachers inflate the reputation of politicians in their lessons, and dictating the curriculum and exams schools must use.
They also accuse the Department for Education of setting too tight a timetable when it set up a consultation among schools over the rules. Responses to the key proposals had to be returned last week – a month before the end of the school holidays and at a time when heads are likely to be on the beach rather than answering Whitehall questionnaires.
The Independent School Standards consultation was begun in late June at the height of the Trojan Horse affair, in which a group of schools in Birmingham were found to have fallen under the sway of Islamic extremists. An inquiry found the schools segregated boys and girls, disparaged British soldiers, promoted hatred of homosexuals, and taught scepticism about responsibility for the murder of soldier Lee Rigby and the Boston bombings.
The resulting Education Department proposals say that independent schools must ‘actively promote’ British values, which are said to include respect for legally ‘protected characteristics’ such as homosexuality, religion, gender change, disability, race and marital status. They also require improved teaching standards from schools with the lowest levels of attainment.
The rules will apply to academies and free schools as well as the long-established independent sector.
A consultation paper reveals this would allow Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to take ‘regulatory action’ in cases such as where girls are ‘disadvantaged’ on grounds of gender, ‘failure to address homophobia’, or where prejudice against other faiths is ‘encouraged or not adequately challenged’.
The Christian Institute (CI) warned this may rule out Christmas events if other religions’ festivals are not celebrated to the same degree. It also fears teachers may have to avoid the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ when discussing marriage, so as not to discriminate against same-sex couples.
The CI’s Colin Hart said: ‘They mistakenly advance the principle that political correctness equal British values. Accordingly they could be used to punish any school in the independent sector which has a religious ethos, a set of traditional beliefs, or which does not promote every minority group’s world view.’