School heads warn of Trojan Horse overreaction

August 12, 2014

Anti-extremism measures for schools in the wake of the Trojan Horse inquiries are rushed and could have unintended consequences, head teachers warn. They claim proposed regulations could inhibit “free discussion” and are calling for a longer time for consultation. The rules apply to England’s academies, independent and free schools. A Department for Education spokeswoman said they promoted “tolerance and respect of all faiths and cultures”.

These updated regulations, intended to reduce the threat of extremism and intolerance, include calls for schools to promote “British values”, such as “mutual respect and tolerance”. But head teachers have also raised concerns about the proposed requirements.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education rejected the concerns. “The Independent School Standards are designed to ensure every school prepares children for life in modern Britain. We make no apology for demanding high standards and the promotion of tolerance and respect of all faiths and cultures. It is simply untrue to say that the proposed changes – which received 1400 responses and last six weeks – would prevent teachers using gender-specific terms or require schools to downgrade Christian festivals.”