School is not just for learning about Henry VIII, or calculus or how earthquakes happen. It is also crucial that pupils understand what it means to be a good citizen in today’s world. Britain has a long, vividly colourful history, and it continues to evolve fast in the 21st century. That said, British society is shaped by a handful of key principles which run deep in its past. Trying to decide which principles are typically British is an interesting exercise, but the government has settled on four British values above all, which schools are required to teach. They are democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for others. Read on to discover what these mean in practice.
Winston Churchill called it “the worst form of government except for all those other forms”. People who don’t have it, want it. People who do, complain about it. What is democracy, really?
Rule of law
Laws dictate what we can and cannot do. But they change all the time, they vary from country to country, and are not always applied consistently. So, how does the rule of law actually work?
Britain, like other Western nations, values its citizens’ abilities to make their own choices. Yet Britons cannot do exactly as they like. What is liberty, and how much of it do we have?
Britain is a nation of 65 million people, dozens of religions and countless other beliefs. Without mutual respect and tolerance, this could spell conflict. But should we tolerate all views?