British Values

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By Deborah Osborne

In light of the concerns over the possible radicalization of children, the British Government has introduced a new ‘Prevent Duty’ law. This law includes teaching ‘British values’ in Early Years and school settings.

British values

Any Ofsted inspection is likely to cover British values and the Prevent Duty. The inspector will want to see that you and your colleagues are able to explain and demonstrate how you promote British values through the effective delivery of the EYFS.

The activities in this article are a great way to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about. And more importantly, they’re the perfect way to introduce the children in your care to the four core pillars of British values:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty and freedom for all
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

The DfE has advised that ‘British values and principles’ are already embedded into the ‘EYFS’. Amongst others, they form part of the personal, social and emotional development and communication and language areas of learning. They have also issued guidance notes relating to how teachers and childcare professionals can implement this policy.

Early years providers serve arguably the most vulnerable and impressionable members of society. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) accordingly places clear duties on providers to keep children safe and promote their welfare. It makes clear that to protect children in their care, providers must be alert to any safeguarding and child protection issues in the child’s life at home or elsewhere (paragraph 3.4 EYFS). Early years providers must take action to protect children from harm and should be alert to harmful behaviour by other adults in the child’s life.

Early years providers already focus on children’s personal, social and emotional development The Early Years Foundation Stage framework supports early years providers to do this in an age appropriate way, through ensuring children learn right from wrong, mix and share with other children and value others’ views, know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and challenge negative attitudes and stereotypes.

( Revised Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales )

However, from conducting online research and speaking directly to those in the teaching profession, the consensus I draw is that practitioners would appreciate tangible methods and ideas to support them in teaching this subject.

Ofsted have advised that having the odd cultural artefact, poster or books containing subliminal messages will not be sufficient evidence to prove you are teaching the values. They will assess a setting’s effectiveness in teaching this subject through children’s SMSC development, the curriculum and school leadership. There have been references indicating that education and childcare settings could be at risk of being downgraded or losing their funding if they cannot show Ofsted inspectors that they are implementing this new legislation…so how can you ‘prove it’?

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