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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Reaction to UK 'core values' idea
Last Night of the Proms
What is Britishness?
An appreciation of "core British values" could be incorporated into citizenship classes in schools under proposed government plans. Will it help tackle extremism?

In response to last year's London bombings, ministers want to review the current citizenship classes in schools, in an attempt to make society more unified.

Education minister Bill Rammell hopes a debate about the values shared by all communities across society - such as freedom, fairness, civil responsibilities and democracy - will help to tackle extremism and discrimination.

A second review will look at the teaching of Islam in universities.

Will the measures work?

NICK PEARCE - INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH

"Any society has to think about how it educates its children, educates them for citizenship.

"If, of course, anybody claims that this will stop terrorism of course that would be mad - I mean nobody should claim such a thing.

"And I think unless you do tackle deprivation and disadvantage then your values aren't embodied properly in your society.

"But there's no reason at all why we shouldn't think hard about educating our children for citizenship and an account of what it means to be British."

STEVE SINNOTT - NATIONAL UNION OF TEACHERS

"The government has to be careful not simply to define the universal values of democracy, liberty and freedom as solely British, although the United Kingdom has a proud history of promoting those values.

We do indeed have extremism in our society. And that extremism is of anti-Britishness
Adrian Mugridge

"There is another core value which the government needs to promote and that is respect for different points of view.

"Imposition cannot lead to success in, or a common understanding of, the core values in our society.

"That is why thorough consultation with teachers, their organisations, parents and young people is so vital."

BILL RAMMELL - HIGHER EDUCATION MINISTER

"I think it's important that we do have a better shared understanding of what are the essential characteristics of modern Britain.

"How, when you look at our social and cultural history, we've got from where we were to where we are.

"If we can do that, I think we can create a better sense of modern British identity, which is helpful in actually building a cohesive society."

BORIS JOHNSON - SHADOW HIGHER EDUCATION MINISTER

"It is not a question of teaching British values; it is a question of teaching British history. There is nothing exclusive or divisive in pointing out the fantastic achievements of the British people.

"For 30 years the British education establishment has kow-towed to the doctrines of multiculturalism and they have deprecated all the institutions and symbols that unite the country.

"It is extremely pleasing that Labour ministers are at last recognising the error of this strategy."

DAVID EAGLESHAM - SCOTTISH SECONDARY TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

"There's a very strong tradition in this country of political liberty and liberty of thought and expression.

"I think these are the kind of core values that we need to try and impart to young people in schools - and that we need to then try and have them impart to their peers."

HARRIS BOKHARI - MUSLIM ASSOCIATION OF BRITAIN

"This is just another one of those knee-jerk reactions where we're not actually looking at the core problem. What was the reason why these people actually committed these disgusting acts?

"Unfortunately it was our foreign policy, it was the issue of the illegal war, the illegal occupation of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the continuing abuses of the Palestinian people, the illegal occupation of Palestine by the Israeli state.

"So I think until the government actually addresses these issues unfortunately we'll keep on having these problems in the UK particularly."

CLAUDE MORAES - LABOUR MEP

"What is a British value? Well, we know there are some excellent things about living in Britain, but in identifying those things, it's notoriously difficult.

"People say things like fair play and so on but then realise that those things could be attributed to other European countries as well."

CLARE ETTINGHAUSEN - HANSARD SOCIETY

"Debate and discussion are the keys to informed citizenship - from local issues to today's wider debate about the future of the Human Rights Act.

"The teaching of democratic values must be the overarching theme in which any discussion of 'Britishness' takes place."


SEE ALSO:
New citizens take the test
31 Oct 05 |  Politics
Muslim schools citizenship warning
17 Jan 05 |  Education


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