BERA PhotographBERA History SIG Colloquium 2017 – ‘Teaching British Values’

On Friday 7th July 2017, the BERA History SIG held its 2nd annual colloquium on the theme of ‘Teaching British Values’ at Friends House, London. It was convened by Dr Heather Ellis (University of Sheffield).
Since the requirement to teach ‘Fundamental British Values’ in primary and secondary schools was introduced by the UK government in November 2014, it has become one of the most intensely discussed and controversial aspects of the school curriculum and educational policy more broadly. Debate around the teaching of British Values has intensified further in the wake of the decision to make schools responsible for helping to deliver the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy. In an attempt to gauge the current state of debate in this area and to discuss future challenges and opportunities, the BERA History SIG chose to focus on the theme of ‘Teaching British Values’ for its annual colloquium 2017.

Photograph of BERAIn particular, the colloquium aimed to bring together teacher-practitioners and education policymakers interested in debates surrounding the teaching of British values in schools with historians of education working on the history of school curricula, especially the history of moral and citizenship education. Following a welcome by Dr Heather Ellis (Sheffield), there were two excellent keynote talks by Professor Terry Haydn (UEA) and Dr Susannah Wright (Oxford Brookes). There was also an invited panel of speakers including teachers and policymakers who all reflected on their experiences with teaching British Values and moral education more broadly.
The day was a great success, with both the keynotes and the panel discussion provoking a spirited and nuanced debate among the audience.