British pride cures racism, Tate argues

23rd May 1997 at 01:00
A strong sense of British identity, far from promoting unhealthy jingoism, is a cure for racism, according to the latest speech from Dr Nicholas Tate, head of the Government's curriculum quango, writes Nicholas Pyke.

Announcing that the Government has given its blessing to the national values paper promoted by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Dr Tate returned to his attacks on "half baked" multi-culturalism.

A strong sense of majority culture is the only way to secure respect for minority traditions, he told the conference of the Careers Research and Advisory Centre in London.

Feeble universalism, Dr Tate said, is promoting bigotry in school corridors by leaving children bereft of identity.

"Misapplied cultural egalitarianism that wants to give equal attention to everything simply makes the problem worse," he said.

"We tackle racism, jingoism and the lack of identity and collective self-esteem which underlie them I by developing a sense of pride in the dynamic and multi-faceted majority culture of our society, while respecting diversity."

He said research by the University of Greenwich had found pupils were unable to respond to "richly decorated" corridors celebrating cultural diversity and that white pupils were like "cultural ghosts".

Earlier, education minister Estelle Morris said that the Government welcomed the work done by SCAA and its National Forum for Values in Education and the Community.

SCAA will now produce: * a directory of teaching resources; * a set of case studies; * a "glossary of terms" to promote discussion; * a set of guidelines promoting community service.

SCAA had been expected to announce a shake-up of much-criticised lessons in personal and social education. But a SCAA source said this could only occur when successful whole-school approaches to spiritual and moral education have been established.

Dr Tate, who was previously chief executive of SCAA, is the new chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which succeeds SCAA next autumn.

His speech suggested warmth for the Labour Government, which has emphasised the importance of community rather than individualism.

Dr Tate said: "Ministers' support for community service for young people is well known. So too is their wish, in the words of the Prime Minister, to build 'a nation in which our ambition for ourselves is matched by our sense of compassion and decency and duty towards other people'."

Research Focus, page 18

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