British values

In 2011, the government set out the need for ‘British values’ to help everyone live in safe and welcoming communities where they feel they belong. These British values are defined as:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty and mutual respect
  • Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

These values are not unique to Britain but are universal aspirations of equality and are, as such, fundamental to helping all children become compassionate, considerate adults who form part of a fair and equal society. Early years settings must demonstrate these values through the management and implementation of the EYFS and ensure that they are understood and applied. Failure to do so may result in funding being withdrawn by the local authority.

As part of the government’s Prevent agenda, early years settings are asked to actively promote British values, which are implicitly embedded within the EYFS.

More recently, the government has reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation to promote fundamental British values” within education, as part of their strategy to overcome radicalisation and terrorism. The Counter Terrorism and Security Act (2015) places a Prevent Duty on early years settings “to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty will come into effect in the summer of 2015. As such, settings will need to be guided by forthcoming guidance on the best way to demonstrate conformity.

For more information, on the Prevent Duty, refer to this mini-guide