20 June 2014 - UK schools should abide by 'British values'
Governors of new academies and free schools told to abide by 'British values'
Richard Adams (The Guardian)
Community leaders have warned that some Muslims could be effectively barred from becoming trustees or governors of new academies and free schools under rules introduced by the education secretary, Michael Gove, in response to the "Trojan horse" controversy.
The Department for Education has inserted new clauses into the model funding agreement for academies stipulating that its governors should demonstrate "fundamental British values", and giving the secretary of state powers to close schools if they do not comply.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that the new rule would make it very difficult to become a school governor if conservative Muslim beliefs were deemed to be incompatible with "British values", and that it put too much power in the secretary of state's hands to define those values.
The document gives for the first time the education department's written definition of the "British values" that Gove said all schools should be promoting in the wake of the row over allegations of Muslim extremism in Birmingham schools.
Keith Perry (The Telegraph)
Under the existing legal agreement the education secretary was only able to cut off a school's funding if there had been "a serious breakdown in the way the academy is managed or governed" or if the DfE regarded a governor as "not a suitable person".
But the department's new rules enable the education secretary to close the school or dismiss its governors if he thinks that any member of the academy trust is "unsuitable" because of "relevant conduct", defined as anything "aimed at undermining the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs".
A spokesman for the MCB said the danger was that the new clause allowed the Education Secretary to decide who was or was not an extremist based on his own views, and would penalise law-abiding Muslims who wanted to take part in public life.
Gary Marks (The Birmingham Mail)
A governor at Park View School in Birmingham has accused Michael Gove and Ofsted boss Sir Michael Wilshaw of "demonising" communities affected by allegations of a "Trojan Horse" takeover plot of schools by hardline Muslims.
David Hughes launched a stinging attack on the Education Secretary and the Ofsted chief inspector over their handling of the case and suggested that they had exploited the situation.
In an open letter to Mr Gove and Sir Michael, Mr Hughes, who is also vice chair of Park View Educational Trust (PVET), warned that communities affected by the allegations feel "frightened, betrayed and let down".
All three of PVET's schools - Park View, Nansen Primary and Golden Hillock - were among the five schools declared inadequate and put into special measures by Ofsted following inspections at a number of Birmingham schools as part of an investigation into the alleged plot by hardline Muslims to take over schools in the city.
A Birmingham headteacher (The Guardian)
Even in the largest UK local authority, the education world is close-knit. Some headteachers are friends; some talk more openly about their schools than others. We all have a pretty good idea what is going on around us. And for the past few years, even if you haven't attended heads' meetings, whispers have been bouncing back into schools.
So, did we have an inkling what was allegedly going on in some of these schools? Absolutely. We started to hear about it years ago. Do I know who wrote the Trojan horse letter? No, and no one that I know does.
The schools involved serve some of the most deprived areas. Without exception Birmingham heads love this place and its people. We're here because we value a multicultural, multi-faith city and believe its young people deserve the best education. Some of the areas served by these schools were in danger of becoming ghettos – awful housing, crime, lack of aspirations. The schools became centres of ambition within communities to simply improve the lives of all. You can't argue with the data: amazing outcomes and student achievement.
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"20 June 2014 - UK schools should abide by 'British values'", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), juin 2014. Consulté le 25/09/2023. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/20-june-2014-uk-schools-should-abide-by-british-values-