What are British values?

‘British values’ are defined under the Prevent duty as:

Democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.”

The Prevent duty also includes encouraging learners to respect other people with particular regard to the protected characteristics of the Equality Act (2010). Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs will be found in the curriculum but will also be part of the expected behaviour in education, training or employer organisations.

Democracy could include discussing how and why laws that relate to learner experiences were introduced. Learner‌ ‌Voice‌ ‌activity‌ ‌can‌ ‌include‌ ‌discussion around voting and support for learners who wish to register to vote.

The rule of law could include encouraging learners to research health and safety laws which regulate industry or review the health and safety processes within their education or training institution.

Individual liberty will include encouraging learners to discuss the extent that this exists or is limited by regulation. They might also discuss their own freedom of choice in terms of future education and career choices.

The nine protected characteristics specified in the Equality Act are:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender reassignment
  4. Marriage and civil partnership
  5. Pregnancy and maternity
  6. Race
  7. Religion or belief
  8. Sex
  9. Sexual orientation

Source: Prevent Duty Guidance for FE institutions in England and Wales, July 2015 updated April 2021.

The DfE also ask that British values should be embedded within each area of the school’s curriculum and extracurricular activities, so that their relevance is highlighted and emphasised. The diversity within the Further Education and Training sector, however, means that there is little consistency between providers in terms of where in the curriculum they situate their delivery of Prevent and British values, for example:

  • during tutor sessions
  • embedded within the curriculum of a subject, whether vocational (health and social care) or academic (for example, literacy)
  • via specific Prevent/British values sessions
  • within subject-related sessions (for example, equality, PSHE, citizenship, careers)
  • via drop-down days or even an off-timetable week
  • through extra-curricular activity.

Who coordinates and delivers British values matters?

Again, not surprisingly given the diversity of the sector, there is no one role responsible for coordinating and delivering British values in the sector. Safeguarding staff, pastoral staff, subject educators, tutors, heads of teaching, learning and assessment or education and quality staff as well as a raft of external providers all have an important role to play.

Men and Women at a Prevent event
Men and Women at a Prevent event

The ETF has produced a number of resources to support the teaching of Prevent and British values in the FE and Training sector:

Prevent legislation, guidance and resources

Safeguarding and British Values Workshops