The whole point of Esperanto, surely, is that it is inter-cultural? Learning French or Arabic or Chinese may give the learner some insight into one culture (or group of cultures); Esperanto, used by people from countless cultures and language backgrounds around the world, can provide insights into many ethnic cultures, from a uniquely independent, neutral perspective.
I have used Esperanto in many countries for more than 40 years. I have no doubt that chatting with an Albanian family in a language that belongs equally to both of us gives me an incomparably better insight into their culture than I would gain through halting Albanian, Italian or English. I wonder: was the DfES comment based on research, careful study or (perish the thought) prejudice?
David Kelso (former HM Chief Inspector of Education, Scotland) Kilncadzow, Carluke