Bishop of St Albans asks a question on teaching British values in schools

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 11th July 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to ensure that the teaching of British values in schools respects protected characteristics, freedom of speech, and the freedom of conscience.

Baroness Barran (Con): All schools must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broad, and which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental, and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities, and experiences of later life. The department expects all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance.

As part of a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils should be taught about different societies, and how different groups have contributed to the development of Britain, and this can include experiences and voices of people from all backgrounds. The curriculum offers many opportunities for schools to do this, notably through citizenship education and relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE).

The RSHE curriculum has a strong focus on equality, respect, the harmful impact of stereotyping, as well as the importance of valuing difference. The citizenship curriculum includes content on democracy and human rights.

In delivering the curriculum, schools should be aware of their duties relating to political impartiality as set out under the Education Act 1996, and must ensure that, where political issues are discussed in the classroom, they are presented in a balanced way.

Pupils should learn about equality, kindness, and respect, and it is for schools to decide how they teach these important values. The department believes in the importance of these shared values which are taught and reinforced every single day in schools across the UK.

Hansard

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