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?
Future of Brexit in doubt after shock result
The results are in: Britain has a hung parliament. The Conservative Party’s vision for a “hard Brexit” has been rejected by voters. Could the UK stay in the European Union after all?
Immigrants ‘should swear oath’ to UK values
A new report on social divisions in Britain has proposed that all immigrants take an ‘oath of integration’. The suggestion has caused a media storm. What do oaths mean in this day and age?
Primary schools to teach ‘British values’
New textbooks will promote ‘British values’ in the UK’s primary schools. They are part of a government effort to bring communities together — but can social integration really be taught?