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Powers to stop early years providers with links to extremism

12 August 2014

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced that local councils are to be given powers to stop funding early-years providers with links to extremism. Inspectors will look at whether the providers are promoting 'fundamental British values' to prepare toddlers for 'modern British life'.

The term 'British values' is challenging to define even by adult standards; attempting to do so in the context of a young child even more so. The values apparently include learning right from wrong, sharing, and challenging negative attitudes. Why these lessons in general morality, which are surely taught by all early-years providers, need to be defined as ‘British' is unclear.

These powers have been publicised with little consultation or discussion around the breadth of changes or how councils and early-years providers are to interpret them. Any ambiguity could lead to a legal challenge and further controversy. Slowing down the rate of sensationalist headlines linked to the Trojan Horse story in favour of clear, detailed and informed policy decisions would be a welcome change.

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