Durham Free School and Defining ‘British Values’
Britain’s Department of Education is prepared to close Durham Free School on March 27 for the school’s alleged failure to uphold “British values.” You might be surprised to learn what it considers British values today.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said, “It is clear that the school is not delivering the high standard of education that parents and I expect. It is also clear that there is no imminent prospect of improvement and I am not prepared to let any child remain in a failing school.”
Why is the school failing?
The government took action “to address a culture of intolerance of people who have different faiths, values or beliefs,” said Janet Renou, the regional schools’ commissioner.
The school is being closed over reports, which are still clouded in ambiguity, about not enough tolerance of Islam, a lack of teaching about sex, and the promotion of creationism.
After the investigation, it took only a matter of weeks to decide on a date to close Durham Free School.
Muslim school officials in Britain’s second-largest city tried to secretly introduce pro-Islamist teachings into the curriculum of seven schools. Some of the officials promoted anti-British, radical Islamist views. There was an effort to establish sharia law within the school body. In some instances boys and girls were segregated. Some students were allegedly taught that the reason they were poor was because Jews and Zionists had all the money. Student ambassadors were assigned to report on any students that did not conform to sharia law.
No mention of closing these schools.
When whistle-blowers exposed the program in 2014, an investigation ensued. It was found that a head teacher at one of the schools brought the issue up in 2010, but no action was taken.
Later it was found that some people had been warning for over 20 years that extremists had “infiltrated” schools in Birmingham, but nothing was done. Eventually, the leader of the Birmingham City Council apologized and admitted that the Council had ignored the situation due to “fear of being accused of racism.”
After the “Trojan horse” revelations, Morgan disingenuously said, “It shouldn’t take any intervention from my department to say that young people should be learning the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, tolerance and respect–because these British values are fundamentally a good thing.”
So why are Christian values pushed out the door and viewed as intolerant and suppressive, while other schools are allowed to practice elements of Islamic sharia law?
Earlier this year, Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education) investigated Grindon Hall Christian School. It ranked the school as “inadequate” because, like Durham, it failed to uphold “British values.”
The school’s principal, Chris Gray, described what values the education department now considers British:
Ofsted’s approach to us was negative at every stage, as if the data collected had to fit a predetermined outcome.
The questioning by inspectors makes clear that their idea of a balanced curriculum is for us to force pupils to celebrate non-Christian religious festivals. This would breach our Christian foundation, which stipulates that we are a Christian school.
Imagine if Ofsted tried to force the Birmingham schools with majority Muslim students to celebrate Christian or Jewish festivals.
In April 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron ignited controversy after he mentioned that Britain is a “Christian country,” even though he was technically correct. In 2011, 59 percent of the United Kingdom’s religious makeup was Christianity.
Historically, Christianity was a huge part of British “values”—it helped define the country’s ambitions at home and throughout the empire, which, by and large, was a huge blessing to hundreds of millions of people. Failing to include such values in the nation’s educational system is transforming the nation.
Britain’s students enter a school system that increasingly deemphasizes God in favor of accidental evolution, suppresses the religion that once defined it, and forces the acceptance of Muslim and other foreign cultures.
It’s no wonder Britain is facing an identity crisis. No wonder so many of Britain’s youth feel ashamed of their history.
Britain’s youth need a proper definition of “British values.” If they don’t get it, then what it means to be British five or 10 years down the road will have a much different meaning than it does today. For more, read our article “To Be or Not to Be … British.”