Michael Gove has seized on a finding by Ofsted that a "culture of fear and intimidation" existed in some schools by announcing that the government will require all 20,000 primary and secondary schools to "promote British values".
Gove's plan is to implement values that will include the primacy of British civil and criminal law, religious tolerance and opposition to gender segregation.
He also announced that Ofsted would press ahead with no-notice inspections of schools.
Ofsted found that governors of a number of the schools had made, or tried to make, changes to the curriculum and policies based on their own religious beliefs. In response the education secretary said states schools could in future all be required to teach values such as democracy, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths.
However freedom from central control and the ability of academies to teach to their own religious beliefs, free of central government control, has long been promoted by Gove.
But, nevertheless, Gove told MPs on Monday: "The overwhelming majority of British Muslim parents want their children to grow up in schools that open doors rather than close minds. It is on their behalf that we have to act."
But what exactly are "British values", you ask?
Luckily, Twitter is here to help out the education secretary:
— GJ Pie Martinez (@M0by_Duck) June 10, 2014
— Will Black (@WillBlackWriter) June 10, 2014
I've got queuing; dressing inappropriately when the sun comes out; warm beer; winning World Wars; immigration & Pot Noodles. #BritishValues
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) June 10, 2014
— Glen Coco (@MrPooni) June 10, 2014
— Jack Sinclair (@J4ckSincl4ir) June 10, 2014
— Stuart Brown (@StuartLeeBrown) June 10, 2014
#BritishValues Never looking, speaking or eating on the Tube.
— Oliver Schraylor (@oliverschraylor) June 10, 2014
— ✨FӛЯĎì ✨ (@2Ferdi7) June 10, 2014
E17's Brian Harvey running himself over with his own car & blaming his "midnight snack" of 3 jacket potatoes with tuna mayo #BritishValues
— Michael Hogan (@michaelhogan) June 10, 2014
Being weary of foreigners while having a Belgian beer with an Indian curry in your Spanish villa wearing Indonesian clothes #BritishValues
— Stuart Brown (@StuartLeeBrown) June 10, 2014
The Queen getting a £3million gold coach while 1 million people use foodbanks because of 'austerity' #BritishValues
— Amy. (@thisisamy_) June 10, 2014
— The Poke (@ThePoke) June 10, 2014
Waiting for permission to leave after paying for something with the exact change #BritishValues
— VeryBritishProblems (@SoVeryBritish) June 10, 2014
Saying sorry when IT WAS CLEARLY THEIR STUPID FAULT! #BritishValues
— Dr Christian Jessen (@DoctorChristian) June 10, 2014
— Abe (@abedakin) June 10, 2014
I doubt I'll see anything more British today than the gentle ribbing of #BritishValues in which Twitter is engaging.
— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) June 10, 2014
More people vote in realty TV contests than in elections #BritishValues
— Antony Holt (@Hasselschmuck) June 10, 2014
#BritishValues tutting loudly when someone else doesn't appear to be adhering to your own set of British values.
— Rezina (@RezinaChowdhury) June 10, 2014
— Michael Richmond (@Sisyphusa) June 10, 2014
Digging up a fucking car park for the 500yo remains of a king, then having a "legal battle" about where to fucking rebury him #BritishValues
— Thomas Heasman-Hunt (@ThommyH_H) June 10, 2014
Socks with sandals #BritishValues
— Just call me Bill (@william_shutter) June 10, 2014
— dan woodford (@orangemousse) June 10, 2014
Buying your round without being prompted #BritishValues
— Bangers and Mash (@bally968) June 10, 2014
— Lisa Flashheart (@BiscuitAhoy) June 10, 2014
In what is being described by ministers as a decisive shift away from moral relativism in the classroom, the education secretary took action after a landmark series of reports by the schools inspectorate into 21 Birmingham secular schools found an atmosphere of intimidation, a narrow, faith-based ideology, manipulation of staff appointments and inappropriate use of school funds.
A separate EFA report into Park View Educational Trust (PVET), which runs three of the schools rated inadequate by Ofsted and has been at the heart of the alleged takeover plot, concluded it has ''many weaknesses'' and restricted its curriculum to a ''conservative Islamic perspective''.
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