The controversial ‘British values’ rules brought in by the Department for Education last year should be ignored, according to the head of a successful all-boys school.
Robin Bevan, headteacher of Southend High School for Boys, told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference that the rules are “ill-considered” and “political posturing”.
He also referred to inappropriate conduct by schools’ regulator Ofsted in recent months.
Mr Bevan told the conference: “There is no one in this hall who would argue against the important role that schools and colleges play in promoting personal morality” and “developing a sense of civic duty”.
But he said that schools had been doing this successfully for a long time and questioned the need for new guidance.
He said that a broad and balanced curriculum has “existed without controversy for many years” and it has been “ample and effective.”
Mr Bevan described the ‘British values’ regulations brought in during September of last year as “deeply ill-considered” and “political posturing”.
He said that he was particularly concerned about the approach taken by Ofsted inspectors when enforcing the new rules.
He told journalists later that there had already been cases of “less-skilled inspectors” gauging how effectively British values rules were being applied by questioning students in a “wholly-inappropriate” manner.
In recent months parents at a number of schools have complained of intrusive questioning by inspectors. The Durham Free School was closed by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan in the wake of a ‘British values’ inspection.
Children aged 6 to 18 at Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland were quizzed on transsexualism, homosexuality and religious festivals. And last year girls at a Jewish school were left “traumatised” after being asked by inspectors if they had a boyfriend.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, has claimed that parents’ concerns about the conduct of inspectors are false.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers has vowed to monitor the policing of British values.