The government’s plans to combat radicalism by promoting “British values” have hit a snag as few ethnic minority students seem to know what British values actually are.
Instead of referring to the officially-approved definition with concepts such as democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law and tolerance, students instead mentioned “drinking tea” and “fish and chips”.
A study by the British Educational Research Association (BERA), who interviewed 250 minority students in Peterborough – one of England’s most ethnically diverse cities – also found that only 13 per cent had even heard of the government’s “Prevent” strategy to counter extremism in schools.
The study by Dr Allison Davies of the Open University said that when asked about British values, ethnic minority student were at a loss:
“Over half were silent, or stated ‘don’t know what you mean’ to the survey question asking for their ideas about British Values.
“The remainder offered popular icons such as ‘fish and chips’, ‘drinking tea’ and ‘celebrating the Queen’s birthday’ (which several of the schools had done at the time of the survey).”
Some also expressed irony when asked about British values, saying: “Pick on someone different to you” and “We need to get rid of these immigrants, they’re taking our jobs”.
However, although they did not know about “British values”, they “understood Islamic values, Christian values, and humanitarian values very well and demonstrated these eloquently in response to questions such as ‘how to improve community relations’,” the report says.
In terms of the government’s “Prevent” strategy, only slightly more than one in 10 had even heard of it. One of those who had said: “The government is…putting money into something the youth doesn’t know about – it’s useless.”
Around three in 10 said they had experienced racial abuse, the report adds. “Most describe the abuse as verbal – being called ‘terrorist’ was frequently recounted in discussion, although 5 % also recorded instance of physical abuse.”
Last year Breitbart London reported increasing concerns that the government was using “British values” to assert social liberalism and secularism while ignoring the UK’s Christian heritage.
Advice for primary schools mentioned secular festivals such as Burns Night, May Day and even the Notting Hill Carnival, but did not mention Easter or even Christmas.
Andrea Williams of the Christian Institute said: “It is intellectually dishonest to deny Christianity’s huge role in shaping Britain, her values and her institutions.
“We should celebrate the freedoms and amazing advances that Christianity has brought to Britain. Airbrushing Christianity out doesn’t prepare children for life in modern Britain, it deceives them.”
“This impoverished approach seems ideologically driven. It is vacuous and leaves children with vague platitudes rather than robust values upheld by a secure foundation,” she added.