Number one son replied with: I don’t know what you mean. What do you mean?
Number two son said: Oh we did that at school, I can’t remember.
Number three son didn’t respond.
Number two son, after some careful thought, finally came up with: tea!
The reason I posed this question was in response to the most recent ‘coffee and chat’ session between parents and the headteacher at my two youngest sons’ school last week. At the ‘coffee and chat’ we talked about the most topical recent addition to the curriculum for primary schools: the teaching of British values. Ofsted will now judge schools on, among other things, their teaching of British values. The discussion was lively and the conclusion was that British values are quite abstract concepts and hard to teach and the same as the values of most regions in the world: tolerance, democracy, individual liberty. They are mostly common sense.
The Internet, that oracle of truth, tells me that Ofsted lists four British values that primary schools should be teaching. These are: democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
These do indeed seem to be universal values. However, my children appeared to have little understanding of the first two certainly and some limited understanding of the latter two. As all they could come up with was ‘tea’, which I was swift to point out came originally from China and India, this doesn’t bode well for their understanding of the issue at hand. I’m just glad there isn’t an exam.
However, after giving this matter some thought I managed to come up with, over lunch, some fundamentally ‘British’ values that may or may not be found abroad and that my children might be able to grasp:
I’m sure there are more ‘British values’ that we didn’t come up with over lunch of posh soup from Morrisons today, and some of these above fall into the values listed by Ofsted. However, I think mine are very peculiarly British.
I wonder if I am feeling a bit more patriotic than I was when I wrote this?
So then after the discussion I asked my children again what they thought constituted a British value and number one son responded with: Sunday dinner?