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Trojan Horse influence on new Independent School Regs?

14 August 2014

The DfE consultation on the new Independent School Standards project as a whole ends next Monday. When in force, they will apply to independent schools, academies and free schools and are designed, we are told, to raise standards.

That may be the plan, but the focus is likely to fall on the proposed changes that include strengthening spiritual, moral, cultural and social (SMCS) standards placed on proprietors of independent schools to actively promote fundamental British values. In short, an apparent reaction to the Trojan Horse concerns. The consultation on this element has ended, while many in the education sector are enjoying their summer break rather than pouring over technical detail.

The consultation on SMCS took place at the end of the academic year and drifted into the summer holidays. This raised concerns that these changes are being rushed through to allay concerns linked to extremism without proper consideration. Whether that is right or wrong, what is required are balanced regulations and well thought through, helpful guidance. Are we getting that, or are we just seeing a political reaction to a very public concern?

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