Teach British freedoms in schools


Teach British freedoms in schools

Fundamental British values of freedom and justice need to take more of a central role in our education system, argues Chris Everett.

Unique British freedoms have been part of this land since the very idea of Britain. From the Parliaments called for by King Arthur in Medieval texts like Morte D’Arthur to appeals from Burke for English liberties, via Milton’s Areopagitica, the idea of Britons retaining certain rights and privileges is as important in our shared literary and historical culture as wine is in France. So why isn’t it part of the school curriculum?

I don’t mean the modern, legalistic interpretation of these rights and liberties either. No, I’m talking the earthy, spiritual ideas in and beyond the Magna Carta, their role in shaping our country today, and why they must be defended and espoused at all costs.

Part of Michael Gove’s curriculum reforms did include a well-meaning nod towards teaching “British Values”, but the vagueness of teacher guidance around these points together with their hostile packaging in the face of educator ire hardly ensures consistency. Perhaps if children were being taught about the marketplace of ideas from an early age, as well as their ancient rights to freedom from persecution without trial, censorious campuses would be rolled back and Twitter mobs would think twice before directing their ire on untried innocents like Professor Tim Hunt.

You could even teach them via a “cross-discipline” approach that so many teachers desire. Outside of the obvious references to the Magna Carta in History and John Stuart Mill in English; you could teach about brave scientists like Dr Priestley, discoverer of oxygen and a dissenter through and through, in chemistry, or the background of football as an expression of freedom on ancient holidays in PE. Even subjects like Food Technology (Home Economics to the over 40s) could be covered by the shroud of British rights and freedoms through the popularisation of coffee and coffee houses in promoting free speech and free markets.

ID cards, detention without trial, rendition: all policies that would be vocally opposed by a generation grounded in British rights and liberties. Teach these freedoms and protect not just these ancient laws, but the very idea of Britain.

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  • Chris Everett
    Chris Everett
    Chris Everett is a reporter for Guido Fawkes, specialising in data journalism, politics, and foreign affairs. He has an MSc in International Public Policy from UCL, and has previously been involved in both Conservative and Liberal Democrat politics. In his spare time he enjoys reading Middle English, golf, and watching cult cinema.
    • geo

      none of the above fits the bbc/liberal left/grauniads self hating view of the world and the oppression of its fav ‘victims’ so is racist/fascist/sexist and so can and MUST be shouted down. Doesnt matter how easy going this country is, more must be done until every liberty and freedom is given away to those “more deserving” than hideously white anglo saxons.

    • ale bro

      I’m sure the St Brice’s day massacre wouldn’t feature in this utopic vision of English history.

      All of the examples in the article are English, so not sure why the headline is “British Freedoms”.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Odd to pull up a single, somewhat shadowy, incident in 1002 to argue against a better modern appreciation of rights and freedoms. But so very typically left wing. And whilst a utopic vision of English history is scorned (it has to be in order to pretend that the Labour party have improved Britain) by chortling a single historic event a utopic vision of the future is relentlessly peddled by your comrades.

        “Our future is better than your past” shriek the leftist mob, ignoring the record of consequences from the “improvements” they have already managed to impose, coerce and contrive.

    • Dodgy Geezer

      …No, I’m talking the earthy, spiritual ideas in and beyond the Magna Carta, their role in shaping our country today, and why they must be defended and espoused at all costs..

      They are not in our curriculum because they are the unacceptable face of white privilege – the oppressive tools whereby the fascist establishment of capitalist industry seek to deny the working class their rightful due, and poison the planet for future generations.

      Oh, and they’re sexist too….

    • Med Jumper

      Instead of rights, maybe they should start with responsibilities.

    • ratcatcher11

      Teachers would not teach freedoms other than those produced by communist dictatorships, because let’s face it, teachers make up the general membership of Momentum who are the fascist footsoldiers and Brownshirts of Corbyn. There is zero chance of them ever teaching about freedom and democracy. Even when I was at school, the teachers would take school parties to Russia and thought the communist system was wonderful. Obviously they didn’t get to see the Gulags, or the mental hospitals where the opposition were consigned for drug treatment or Stalin’s torture chambers or even the Berlin Wall in Germany, but hey, lets not let the truth get in the way of a good propaganda story.

      • Tom Burkard

        No doubt a few teachers support Momentum and Corbyn, but to suggest that they are all screaming lefties is ludicrously wide of the mark. More teachers read the Daily Mail than the Grauniad, and I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t that many with strong political views of any nature. When the conversation in the staff room doesn’t concern the nutters they have to teach and other local concerns, it will most likely centre on what they watched on the box last night. Trying to get a teacher to talk about anything serious is hard work indeed. Their own lack of freedom (hint–I had vastly more freedom to teach as I saw fit as a corporal in the TA than any teacher enjoys in a maintained school) operates heavily against them teaching about British freedoms to our kiddies. If you gave them a PowerPoint on the subject, they’d no doubt happily oblige.

    • Dr Evil

      It would also be nice if the freedoms in the Bill of Rights 1689 we still in existence too.

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