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Questioning 'British values' teaching in schools and the discouragement of students' critical thinking

Citizenship Foundation, The Independent, BBC

The Citizenship Foundation has said of the obligation on schools to teach 'British values' that, ‘The language we hear from government is of "promoting fundamental British values" and of young people "accepting", "respecting" and "tolerating" - as though we all agree already on what those values are, accept that they are unique to Britain and believe we should follow them unquestionably. At the Citizenship Foundation, we think education is about helping people understand how things work and how to challenge and change them for the better. Values won't be assumed because schools demand they are, particularly if they're very different from those at home: they have to be arrived at through mutual exploration and understanding.’ 

Last week, parents and carers were, 'advised by the safeguarding children board in the London Borough of Camden that “showing a mistrust of mainstream media reports and a belief in conspiracy theories” could be a sign that children are being groomed by extremists. Bella Sankey, policy director at the campaign group Liberty, criticised the leaflet. “Children should be encouraged to take an interest in politics and think critically about what they see in the media, not deemed suspect for so doing”An executive member of the National Union of Teachers said: "[the] Prevent [strategy] is shutting down debate and we must oppose it. Schools are places where teachers and children should be allowed to have discussions."  

ForcesWatch would be concerned by any attempt to discourage students' critical thinking around government and media narratives. Our workshops in schools focus on facilitating debate on the armed forces' recruitment practice and influence in the education system.

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