British values in the classroom

By Simon Rocker, July 31, 2014

Jewish schools have been briefed on guidelines to promote British values and respect for equality, which come into force next term.

Sara Perlmutter, the Board's education policy and projects manager, believes the schools will be able to cope with the changes "if they are prepared with the right guidance and get up to speed".

The government's new emphasis on British values - which will apply to independent as well as state schools - follows an investigation into attempts to introduce a conservative Islamic ethos into a number of secular schools in Birmingham.

According to draft regulations, schools will be expected to "further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions, enabling students to acquire appreciation and respect of their own and other cultures".

They will also be required to encourage understanding of democracy and the principles of equality, as set out in recent legislation. Ofsted inspectors have been known to ask pupils whether they understand the word "gay".

Mrs Perlmutter, who led the briefing, said: "We brought to head teachers' attention major changes for which they will be accountable to Ofsted.

"This initial discussion was about developing best practice in order to help all Jewish schools to understand how to best incorporate new guidelines.

"We will continue to offer advice over the coming weeks and months."

Last updated: 6:21pm, August 4 2014