British Values 'exist, and should be taught in schools'

June 12, 2014, 3:42 PM GMT+0

British people tend to think there are a distinct set of British values – and most say all schools should instil them in students

Following concerns about an Islamist takeover of schools in Birmingham, Michael Gove said that in future schools would be required to promote “British values”. David Cameron later agreed: "freedom, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions - those are the sorts of things that I would hope would be inculcated into the curriculum in any school in Britain”. He added: "what Michael Gove has said is important and I think it will have the overwhelming support… of everyone in Britain”.

A new YouGov survey finds that a 77% majority of British people agree that it is the role of all British schools to instil British values in their students. Only 15% disagree and 9% don’t know.

Twitter reacted mockingly to Michael Gove’s announcement, and critics argued that “British values” are too vague or debateable to be a clear set of their own. But by 49-37% people tend to think that there are a distinct set of British values which are different from the values held by other Western European developed countries.

18-24 year olds, however, are divided 40-39% over whether British values exist; over 60s, in contrast, fall in favour of their existence by 55-36%.

As a result of worries over “Trojan horse” plots to infiltrate Birmingham schools, Michael Gove has asked Ofsted to introduce no-notice ‘snap inspections’. Additionally, whereas now free schools have greater freedom from the national curriculum, he hinted at regulating what they can teach: "we will consider how Ofsted can better enforce the existing requirement that all schools teach a broad and balanced curriculum".

See the full poll results