Toddlers at risk of extremism, warns Education Secretary

The Telegraph is reporting that the Education Secretary is going to claim that nurseries are at risk of being taken over by religious extremists and will announce that toddlers are to be taught “fundamental British values”…

In her first major policy announcement, Nicky Morgan will say that local authorities will be obliged to use new powers to strip nurseries of their funding if they are found to “promote extremist views”.

She will also say that toddlers should be taught “fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way” as part of a drive to protect children from religious radicals.

Nurseries that teach creationism as scientific fact will be ineligible for taxpayer funding, under the new rules…

Mrs Morgan is understood to be concerned about the risks posed to children by nurseries linked to radical mosques or run by Islamic hardliners.

There are also concerns within the Government that councils need greater powers to react when allegations of extremist values are raised. At present, local authorities provide funding to nurseries that meet basic Ofsted requirements, but there is no explicit statement that they must not support providers — such as churches, mosques or charities — with extremist views.

There are fears that loopholes leave councils feeling powerless to cut off financing for organisations which they have concerns about. “After Birmingham, we feel it is important to be proactive,” a government source said.

However, sources added that there is no concrete intelligence about individual nurseries that demands immediate action.

Ministers were prompted to act after a consultation into early education funding received 450 responses from individuals and organisations expressing concerns about funding going to organisations that promote extremist views…

Mrs Morgan, who replaced Michael Gove as Education Secretary in last month’s Cabinet reshuffle, strongly believes that any institution that fails to prepare children for life in modern Britain cannot be sustained with public funding.

Proposals by Mr Gove to oblige schools to promote “fundamental British values” will be extended to children as young as two, Mrs Morgan will say. For toddlers, the teaching of such values is likely to include learning right from wrong, learning to take turns and share, and “challenging negative attitudes and stereotypes”, it is understood.

The rules on creationism will bring nurseries into line with state-funded schools. A government source said: “We are absolutely not saying, ‘You can’t teach Bible stories’.”

Ofsted, the education watchdog, will use the new guidelines in its inspections of nurseries. A consultation will take place in September and Mrs Morgan hopes the rules will come into force in the New Year…

More at: Toddlers at risk of extremism, warns Education Secretary

 

Is this a sensible precautionary move in the wake of the Peter Clarke extremism report or do you see it as inappropriate or an over-reaction? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. birch_david

    SchoolsImprove since when were ‘knowing right from wrong’ and ‘learning to share and take turns’ specifically British values?

  2. JeniHooper

    SchoolsImprove Nicky Morgan needs to avoid silly season headlines like “Toddlers at risk of extremism”

  3. SchoolsImprove

    birch_david Yep – adding “British” seems unnecessary and just adds baggage that doesn’t help anyone

  4. leonardjamesuk

    birch_david SchoolsImprove Irony is that ‘sharing’ and ‘challenging negative stereotypes’ are how one might describe the government.

  5. ChrisWhitmore6

    birch_david LeeDonaghy SchoolsImprove just wait for the patent Newborn British Values Questionnaire, coming soon from this moronic govt!

  6. BorisWatch

    birch_david Since when did nurseries not consider instilling them part of the point of having nurseries? SchoolsImprove

  7. angusdawalker

    SchoolsImprove Dunno about extremist nurseries, what about extreme nurseries? With scuba diving. And darts. And scorpions as class pets.

  8. Janet2

    One nursery, Gracelands, was investigated as part of Trojan Horse.  Monitoring inspection found safeguarding met requirements but leadership and management required improvement.  Inspectors found historical problems with such things as not seeking references for staff but new head dealt with this.  There’d been a high turnover of governors but there’s not a lot that can be done about this because they’re volunteers.  

    Why did inspectors say Gracelands’ leadership and management required improvement?  Because the governors were unaware of government guidelines re the prevention of extreme and radical behaviour laid down in Prevent.  But the full inspection grading remains: the nursery is still Good.

    It appears that Prevent is being tangled up with “British values” which are in any case universal values such as respecting human rights and Enlightenment values such as democracy.  They’re not exclusive to one country.  Just imagine the annoyance which would be caused if US politicians started claiming these were solely “American” values.

  9. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This whole thing seems like scaremongering to me. The impression given is that “extremism” is rife when I doubt that it is

  10. simonraz

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove problem(again) with use of ‘extremist’ when they really mean very ‘conservative’ religious views.

  11. andylutwyche

    simonraz SchoolsImprove Completely agree and part of the scaremongering message being delivered to the public via an enthusiastic media

  12. spawneedave

    @suzyg001 birch_david BorisWatch SchoolsImprove and apologising for something that they haven’t done! Moaning about the weather (too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry).

  13. spawneedave

    Good to see creationism being taken off the curriculum – but you could hardly define it as “extremism” (unless of course you include the story of Noah – that’s pretty extreme and hardly suitable for small children)

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