New Teachers’ Standards

July 19th, 2011

The Government has recently published new Teachers’ Standards which will take effect from September 2012.

The new Standards are intended to be more straightforward and concise than those previously in place. The different sets of standards issued by different bodies have been replaced by a single set of Teachers’ Standards running to just four sides. The new Standards apply to all teachers, regardless of what stage of their careers they are at.

One aspect of the new Standards which has drawn media attention (see, for example the BBC and the Telegraph), is the requirement that teachers must not undermine “fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”.

It has been suggested that this is intended to make it easier to address concerns about teachers with extremist views imparting their opinions onto their students. Yet on its face, the definition of “fundamental British values” appears to be very broad and could in practice be engaged in a range of scenarios (consider, perhaps, a debate about different faiths in the context of religious education). How this particular standard will be applied in practice once in force remains to be seen.

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