Stephen Lambert, Director of Education4Democracy.


AS PART of the government’s war on extremism and terrorism it’s now a statutory requirement for all schools, colleges, apprenticeship agencies, adult education centres and prisons to promote and embed ‘Fundamental British Values’ in their day to day work with students and trainees.

The basis of the Government’s British values programme partly stems from the controversial Trojan Horse affair in 2014. An in –depth investigative report by a major Sunday newspaper exposed an alleged plot by hard-line Islamists to take over the management of some Birmingham comprehensive schools.

The paper claimed that “dirty tricks” had been used to weed out non-Muslim staff. This alarmed the authorities such as Ofsted which necessitated a further investigation.

Likewise there’s growing evidence of Religious fundamentalists and far-right individuals getting a toe hold onto college campuses and into the teaching profession itself. A disturbing number of individuals who have been radicalised and drawn into terrorism or violent extremism have studied at further education colleges mostly in London and the West Midlands.

Most schools and colleges have successfully complied with the new rules set out in the Government’s revised 2015 Prevent Strategy. They have strengthened their safeguarding policies and procedures to protect vulnerable students, staff and visitors from extremist propaganda in the classroom and on Internet sites.

Programme of Fundamental British values

The Government’s programme of Fundamental British values includes a knowledge and understanding of the tenets of democracy, including voting, representation and democratic values and institutions like parliament; the rule of law; mutual respect including an appreciation of the bases of discrimination, the 2010 Equality Act’s “protected characteristics”; respect for other faiths and beliefs and liberty in which the student learns about their legal rights and civic responsibilities in our liberal-democratic, pluralist society. In the main these are universal and shared western values. We shouldn’t be afraid to endorse and celebrate them.

Thousands of schools and colleges across the UK have embedded fundamental British values into GCSE Citizenship or history courses where they are delivered.

Others have integrated them into weekly pastoral classes which have involved visiting speakers such magistrates or MPs and visits to citizenship ceremonies in town halls.

Some have gone to great length to use wall posters and social media such as Newcastle and Bradford Colleges’ celebration of ‘Black History Month’ last October.


Citizenship Diploma

But to incentivise all educational providers there’s a powerful case for key British values to be incorporated into a two year Level 2 or 3 Citizenship course for all post-16 learners with a ‘Citizenship Diploma’ test to be taken at the age of 18 or 19. This is currently being practised in many states both in North America and Australia. It works well.

According to Durham university Prof Thom Brookes in his book ‘Becoming British’ new arrivals to Britain are obliged to sit a citizenship test and sign a pledge in order to be granted permanent residency which reads: “I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect it’s rights and freedoms. I will uphold democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.” All citizens of the UK should be required to sign up to such a pledge.

Citizenship classes need to be restored

Furthermore, Citizenship or civics classes with an emphasis on ‘political literacy’ and equality and diversity need to be restored in our secondary schools to address the breakdown of trust in our democratic institutions which has gripped the nation as evidenced by declining participation in elections, mostly at a regional level. In last week’s Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner by-election only 15 % voted with all the major political parties losing votes to a populist, Independent candidate.

According to the independent Citizenship Foundation the number of GCSE exam entries for the subject has fallen sharply to below 80,000.

Too often the subject has been side-lined or constitutes one ingredient of Personal and Health education classes. This needs to be addressed by central government, local authorities and educational providers.

Combating intolerance, hate, inequality and extremism in all its forms

British values are key not just to meet the legal requirements of Ofsted, the schools’ watchdog, but for students and staff too. Learning isn’t just about preparation for a changing workplace or university.

It’s also about living in a pluralist, multi-cultural, multi-faith and age diverse Western liberal-democracy like Britain.

Embedding British values into the educational curriculum from the age of five to 25 should be a priority to help combat intolerance, hate, inequality and extremism in all its forms. Populism is on the rise.

We need to restore peoples’ faith in democracy – its values, principles and institutions across the North. With racism, antisemitism, homophobia and discrimination against disabled people on the up again the need for rolling out British values could not be greater.

Stephen Lambert is director of Education4Democracy CICHe writes in a personal capacity.

Copyright © 2019 FE News

Stephen Lambert Newsroom Strap

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Newsroom Activity

Jo Moriani added a new event 55 minutes ago

Exploring the new legal entitlement - Essential Digital...

Overview Gateway Qualifications was the first Awarding Organisation to complete Ofqual’s technical evaluation of the Essential Digital Skills and to...

  • Thursday, 20 August 2020 02:00 PM
  • Online
Southwark College has published a new article: Southwark College students celebrate results day 3 hours 2 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page