Schools where pupils share same cultural background must teach 'pluralistic British values'

New government strategy designed to 'help people in more isolated communities to engage with the wider world'

Tes Reporter

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Schools with pupils from a single cultural, racial or religious background are to be required to ensure they are taught "pluralistic British values", under a new strategy being released shortly by the government.

Prime minister Theresa May told Tuesday's regular weekly meeting of Cabinet at 10 Downing Street that the Integrated Communities Strategy would deliver a "step change" in the effort to ensure that all communities engage in British society.

The strategy, drawn up by communities secretary Sajid Javid, also includes measures to improve opportunities for people from immigrant communities to learn English and to encourage women to enter the workplace.

The Conservative manifesto in last year's general election promised a strategy to tackle racial and religious divisions within the UK's communities.

Divided communities

The manifesto described Britain as "one of the world's most successful multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-religious societies" which had benefited from "cultural and economic enrichment" as a result.

But it added: "The enjoyment and pride we take in our diversity should not cause us to ignore the fact that in too many parts of our country, we have communities that are divided, often along racial or religious lines."

Mrs May's official spokesman said that the strategy was designed to "help people in more isolated communities to engage with the wider world".

"It will help women in particular into the workplace, teach more people to speak English and work with schools to make sure that those with intakes from one predominant racial, cultural or religious background teach their students about pluralistic British values and help them to get to know people with different ways of life," said the spokesman.

A Downing Street spokesperson was unable to say whether the strategy would apply to schools with predominantly white British backgrounds.

Working together

Mrs May told Cabinet that Mr Javid had led work across government to produce a strategy which cuts across departments from the economy to education and housing.

She told ministers to ensure their departments work together to ensure an "ambitious" strategy which would deliver "the step change that is needed", said her spokesman.

The strategy is due to be published "shortly", but no date has been announced for its release.

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