The British government’s advice on teaching “British values” to nursery school children has been criticised as “vacuous” and “ideologically driven” after failing to mention the UK’s Christian heritage.
The advice, promoted by the Department for Education, lists values such as “making links in the local community” and “living in a multicultural and diverse world” as typically British. But Christians are concerned that the UK’s predominant religion for over a millennium is barely mentioned.
The advice on the government website includes a diagram of things teachers may want to teach children about British cultures.
It lists secular festivals such as Burns Night, May Day and even the Notting Hill Carnival, but does not mention Easter or even Christmas, despite these being public holidays in the UK. It does list certain saints’ days, but these are the national saints of the UK, thus making their festivals largely secular.
The diagram also suggests teaching nursery-age children about the street artist Banksy, listing him as one of the noteworthy British artists. The list does not include famous artists such as JW Turner or John Constable, nor does it mention a single classical composer.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, strongly criticised the guidelines. She told Breitbart London: “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.
“Suggesting that April Fool’s Day or Bonfire night are more ‘British’ than Christmas or Easter is ridiculous.
“This impoverished approach seems ideologically driven. It is vacuous and leaves children with vague platitudes rather than robust values upheld by a secure foundation.”
Back in August, a survey of 1,700 Evangelical Christians found that 80 per cent thought the “British values” agenda made it “harder for Christians to express their faith in public”. A similar percentage said the programme was clearly based on secular ideals rather than Christianity.
Evangelical Alliance spokesman Dr David Landrum said at the time: “Our fundamental freedoms are being threatened by the Government over-reacting to security threats to those very freedoms.
“We may be in danger of destroying the foundations while trying to protect the house we have built on them.”