Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
Amanda Spielman's speech to the Policy Exchange think tank
The Chief Inspector yesterday discussed the importance of promoting British values in schools and Ofsted's role in making sure this is done well.
The title of this speech, ‘The Ties that Bind’, is not an original phrase. And indeed, as soon as the invitations for this Policy Exchange event went out, we had a call from an understandably bemused Lords Committee clerk wondering why they had not been consulted, because their Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement published a report with this title earlier this year, and for which one of my colleagues gave evidence. So, apologies to Lord Hodgson and his eminent fellow peers – I had not then seen their excellent report, though I have now read it with great interest.
And of course a great deal of overdue thinking and discussion has happened in many quarters in recent years on the difficult subjects of community cohesion, integration, citizenship and British values, by minds far more distinguished than mine. Indeed, when I took up the job of Chief Inspector, I hardly imagined this was a subject I would be spending quite so much time on. But having spent 18 months in what is a fairly hot seat at Ofsted, I have seen quite how much these challenges directly affect our schools.
That is my topic this evening: to explore why the promotion of British values is important in encouraging cohesion and integration, and so why responsibility for promoting them must fall to our schools. And I also want to talk about Ofsted’s role in making sure that schools do this well.
Taking a step back for a few minutes, it was the experience of living and working in the United States, more than 20 years ago, that made me recognise how much the development of a society, and the formation of its public policy, is driven by the values that underlie that society. Even though the UK and the United States are more similar than most, I came to realise how different their underlying values and assumptions were, and still are. And I’m not talking about guns and abortions here – I was most struck then about things like the welfare settlement, and the idea of what education is for. The version of egalitarianism that has been the bedrock of NHS provision and of the English state school system for many decades looks quite strange to many American eyes. And I was genuinely surprised back then by how very differently the word ‘liberalism’ was perceived in America. All this made me look back at and think about Britain in a whole different way.
But despite these differences, what marks out both the UK and the US as successful societies is that they have each developed a core of values shared by a large majority of their citizens, and built systems of public provision on those values, safe in the assumption that, despite the range of political opinion, enough consensus exists around values for people to compromise where necessary in the collective interest. Though perhaps the limits of that consensus are being somewhat stretched by the current occupant of the Oval Office.
This assumption of shared values has worked well for a couple of reasons. The US has famously put a strong emphasis on national unity and assimilation, to an extent that actually makes many British people feel slightly uneasy. So, for example, the pledge of allegiance must be recited regularly in schools, in all but 4 states.
In England, the nearest analogue is the requirement for a daily act of collective worship, which if we are being honest gets lip service, if that, in many schools. More generally, England has had a more laissez-faire approach to integration, with multiculturalism and assimilation both valued.
But the context has changed in recent years. Immigrant populations are quite unevenly distributed, and so in many parts of England we now have schools that educate mainly or almost entirely children from relatively recently arrived families, or that at least use another language at home. For instance, across England, there are just under 2,000 state-funded schools where more than half of pupils have English as an additional language. More than 40 percent of EAL children are in the relatively small minority of schools where half or more of children are EAL. Even the accidental segregation resulting from geography makes it less likely that integration will happen by default.
In December 2016, the Casey Review was published. More recently, the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy green paper, published in March this year, sets out starkly the scale of the challenge and the need for all organs of the state to play an active role in fostering integration. That strategy is a clear recognition that the current approach to integration needs strengthening, and that our efforts to promote community cohesion must involve a common vision; a sense of belonging; valuing diversity; and ensuring equal opportunities. The work of schools in promoting British values sits at the heart of that strategy.
The current meaning of the term ‘British values’ was first defined in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. The role of schools in promoting them was formalised in Department for Education guidance in 2014, to help both independent and state schools understand their responsibilities. This guidance set out the duty of all schools in England, state and independent, to ‘actively promote’ the 4 British values of:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Like many, I recognise the wider significance of these values. They ensure the legitimacy and effectiveness of government for all citizens, and they provide a unifying framework for a multi-racial society, to build on what is already held in common. They are values that promote both trust and the willingness to contribute to the common good. They create a space in which minority beliefs, lifestyles and cultures can exist freely and in harmony, but also a common set of values that help to strengthen the bonds of our shared society. They therefore have an importance far beyond preventing extremism and terrorism.
For Ofsted, making sure that the next generation understands, respects and is willing to adopt these values is essential. They are values that give a simple message to our young people: in Britain, no matter what your background, you can fit in, you can succeed and you can belong.
The Lords Committee, in its response to the green paper, endorses the values strongly:
Our first conclusion is that, while a variety of faiths, beliefs and customs can enrich our society, and respect for the values of others is a high priority, respect for the law must come first. There is no place for rules or customs whose effect is to demean or marginalise people or groups – equality before the law is a cornerstone of our society. This is why the rule of law, together with a commitment to democracy, individual liberty and respect for the inherent worth and autonomy of all people, are the shared values of British citizenship from which everything else proceeds. These are “red lines” which have to be defended.
The government believes that promoting British values in schools helps young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. If that is our aim then it must be right that Ofsted inspects against this policy. We know that this belief is shared by many people in education, yet we do not go unchallenged in our work.
The Lords Committee noted that many people regret the context in which these values were originally formulated − in the context of a counter-extremism strategy. It suggested that they need to be re-framed in a non-securitised and more positive context. They expressed a desire to rename them as Shared Values of British Citizenship, as well as broadening the scope of ‘respect’ beyond matters of faith and belief.
The most frequent criticism expressed to me is that the values are universal, and not exclusively British. People who make this criticism often prefer a model grounded in individual human rights. But I am not aware that any claim has ever been made for British ownership of the list. And indeed, as the Lords Committee said in its argument for renaming them:
…this does not imply that no other country can share them in whole or in part, but that they are civic values which should be adhered to by all people in Britain. Values which stand in opposition cannot and should not be described as British.
And therein lies the point: while these values are not unique to Britain or British society, they are integral to our ethos.
And these values are in fact far from universal. A few months ago, after similar points had been made to me for the umpteenth time, I did a little empirical investigation of my own. There are a number of international surveys by credible organisations that compare different countries on things like democracy and the rule of law. I looked for and found fairly recent surveys covering all 4 values.
For democracy, there is the EIU Democracy Index; for the rule of law, the World Justice Project Index; for liberty, I found the Cato Institute Freedom Index and for religious tolerance, a Pew Center index of religious restrictions. While religious restrictions are a slightly different thing, their existence generally goes along with unequal treatment of different religions, so I have taken this index as a proxy measure. Each of these surveys covers a number of countries. They cover not just intent – whether a value is recognised and publicly endorsed – but also whether it is realised in practice.
These 4 surveys give some perspective on the universality or otherwise of the 4 core values.
The EIU Democracy Index is an interesting place to start. It surveys 167 countries, which between them account for the vast majority of the world population. It categorises 19 countries, which between them have less than 5% of the world’s population, as full democracies, and a further 57 countries, with a further 44% of the world population, as flawed democracies. That puts more than half the countries covered, and more than half of the world population, in either the ‘authoritarian regime’ or ‘hybrid regime’ categories. About 32% of people live in authoritarian countries. It is a sad fact that in recent years more countries have moved away from full democracy than towards it.
The World Justice Project Index for the rule of law similarly finds that surprisingly few countries get a clean bill of health – 11 are graded ‘very high’ and a further 11 as ‘high’. The Pew Center looks at all 198 countries and territories, and scores about half as having low government restrictions on religion, but a surprising number even of European countries are deemed to have moderate or even in a couple of places high restrictions.
Now one can always quibble with aspects of the classification in these surveys, and the boundaries are obviously not clear-cut. But a surprisingly small number of countries come out consistently in the top group on all of these criteria: on the particular set of surveys I looked at, they were Australia, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK. The World Justice Project didn’t include some smaller countries: Ireland and Luxembourg might have joined the select group if it had. The other Scandinavian and German speaking countries all missed out by reason of the Pew Center scoring of religious restrictions. Widening the top 2 categories across the board would have brought them in along with the United States, a few in the far East, and, interestingly, Uruguay.
But what is striking is how many countries would still be absent from the list. There are a lot of countries that are not democracies, and a lot that do not permit their citizens religious freedom, or do much to protect individual liberty. And the rule of law is so imperfectly implemented in many countries that it is hard to attach a great deal of value to it.
That such a small handful of countries fall into the category of fully embracing what we call ‘British values’ should be proof enough that we cannot simply take them for granted. And nor can we assume that because they exist now, they always will. To illustrate this, consider a recent US poll, commissioned by the Bush and Biden Foundations. It found that a majority of Americans, 55%, now label American democracy as “weak”, with two-thirds saying it is getting weaker. A startling study of attitudes to democracy by Yascha Mounk and Roberto Foa found that while in Britain almost 70% of those born in the 1930s think it is essential to live in a democracy, that figure falls to just over 25% for those born in the 1980s. That bears thinking about: barely more than a quarter of so-called millennials in this country believe that democracy is essential.
Some of the reasons for this are well documented: poorly managed economic dislocation, combined with the abuse by some of their positions of wealth and authority, have led to disenchantment with the status quo. That disenchantment can so easily be exploited by extremists, who promise a better tomorrow by scapegoating and blaming minorities today. This is why it is right that the Prevent duty also focuses on tackling the growth of the far right. At the opposite, but strikingly similar, end of the spectrum, Islamist extremists – particularly fuelled by the online propaganda of Daesh and others – prey on a sense of isolation and alienation in some minority communities.
This poses a number of problems for schools. The first is that schools with the job of promoting British values and equalities are sometimes teaching young people who get conflicting or even downright contradictory messages outside school. For example, freedom of belief is inimical to the prevailing view in some communities. Similarly, the acceptance of the equal rights of women or of gay rights may not fit with the views a child hears at home. No wonder, therefore, that some young people feel torn between different identities.
Yet, in many ways this is not a new challenge but a constant one. Attitudes can and do shift over time, but they don’t change in an ordered way, and the studies I just quoted show how they can move in both directions. Just look at how much British society has changed in the past century or two. The dismantling of restrictions on Catholics was completed less than 2 centuries ago; legal equality for women was achieved in my lifetime, after a century of gradual progress starting with the Married Womens’ Property Act; equality for gay men and women more recently still; and transgender rights are still not fully secured, something last week’s government action plan seeks to address. Social attitude surveys from 50 or even 20 years ago show a dramatically different picture from today. For example, in 1987, only a generation ago, just 11% of the British public said that same-sex relationships are not wrong at all, and yet by 2016 this had reached 64%.
A second problem for schools is that history, culture and experience can lead to a strong identification by a child with their family’s cultural group to the exclusion of all else. To quote a recent piece by Andrew Sullivan:
The problem with tribalism is that it knows no real limiting principle. It triggers a deep and visceral response: a defence of the tribe before all other considerations. That means, in its modern manifestation, that the tribe comes before the country as a whole, before any neutral institutions that get in its way, before reason and empiricism, and before the rule of law. It means loyalty to the tribe – and its current chief – is enforced relentlessly.
And I’m not saying here that it is a problem for people to belong to a well-defined group, whether political, religious, cultural, geographical or simply social. Indeed, there are well-documented advantages to belonging to communities. Where it becomes problematic is when a particular identity is taken to preclude or, at worst, justify hostility to any other group affiliation.
The increasing fragmentation of the media probably makes this problem worse. Rather than engaging in and debating a common narrative – for instance the one provided by broadcast news at 6 or 10 − people use social media to follow news sources that reinforce rather than challenge their views. Among majority communities, this can lead to a desire to blame ‘the other’. It can lead to the backlash against minorities, and against liberalism, that we’ve seen across the globe in recent years. Combined with economic malaise, it can lead to a rejection of the move towards social liberalism of the past half century. As Robert Putnam says, ‘social dislocation can easily breed a reactionary form of nostalgia’. Where minority communities are already feeling isolated and alienated, they can themselves be preyed upon by extremists, making the job of schools even harder.
The third practical difficulty for schools, is that education, rightly, is seen neither by policymakers nor by teachers as indoctrination. Education should not and does not aim to force children to adhere to British values and to disclaim all others. Nor does it try to turn children against their parents or their cultural heritage.
Yet, we know that some teachers feel unclear about, or even uncomfortable with, what is expected of schools. So, let me explain what I think is being asked of them. In my view, teachers are expected to give children a proper understanding of British values, and of what these values have contributed – and continue to contribute to – the strength and success of British society.
The Lords Committee sees the need as being for better citizenship education. It calls for a statutory entitlement with (inevitably) extra focus by Ofsted and an explicit link to the outstanding judgement. That, of course, is a question for the government. Regardless, I would argue that there is much more that can be done within the existing school curriculum and, in particular, across all the humanities.
Taking the history curriculum first: the key stage 3 statutory programme of study includes as suggested topics:
- the struggle between Church and crown
- Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament
- the English Reformation and Counter-Reformation (Henry VIII to Mary I)
- Britain’s transatlantic slave trade: its effects and its eventual abolition
- the French Revolutionary wars
- women’s suffrage
Many of these topics show how the 4 values have come about, and can bring home how many lives it has cost to establish and protect them. For example, the persecution of Catholics in England in the 16th century highlights the suffering that can follow from the absence of religious freedom. And some topics in modern history, such as the study of the Holocaust or Stalinist Russia, serve particularly well to illustrate the terrible human cost of totalitarianism and of prejudice against minorities.
Similarly, the study of geography can also be used to look at where physical, political, ethnic and religious borders coincide, and where they don’t, and at how the resulting distributions of people and of economic and political power translate into accommodations and conflicts, economic development or its absence, and into patterns of migration.
Religious education can contribute a great deal to mutual understanding in a multi-ethnic state. And while it can be quite straightforward to cover the factual information about the rituals and observances and meeting places of different faiths, there is far more that it can do. During my time at Ofqual, the exam regulator, we worked on the new religious studies GCSE, which for the first time is requiring students to study two religions. This means that they study at least one that is not their own, so they arrive at some understanding of the differences between faiths. And religious education also has the potential to develop children’s understanding of the diversity that often exists within as well as between faiths: after all, most faiths actually encompass a spectrum of views, from liberal to conservative.
Religious education done well helps children understand where values overlap and where they diverge, and hence the basis for the tensions that can arise between and sometimes even within faiths. It can help them understand the tensions that can arise between faith and other legally established rights, such as the rights of women and rights relating to sexuality. And done well it allows children to understand how their own faith relates to the wider world, both in terms of attitudes and the prevailing law. Again, this is not about indoctrination, rather about making sure that young people have the knowledge to make their own informed choices.
This is one of many reasons I have been putting so much emphasis on the importance of the curriculum: the real substance of education. I’ve talked before about why I believe a rich and deep knowledge-based curriculum is a vital driver of social mobility. But there’s another reason that the curriculum is vitally important in preparing young people for life in modern Britain − a shared body of knowledge constitutes the building blocks of a coherent society. It gives young people an understanding of the forces that have shaped and continue to shape their history and nation. It helps them be discriminating about fake news and siren voices. The EBacc isn’t just about helping young people fulfil their academic potential: it’s about the various branches of knowledge that are vital to the functioning of a shared society.
We’ve seen first-hand the consequences of locking young people out of that shared corpus, of denying them the opportunity to engage with the best that has been thought and said. I believe that the alienation that we see in some communities, whether segregated ethnic communities, or isolated White working-class communities, is in part the result of an education that has not given their young people the tools they need to be active and engaged and constructive citizens.
I want to turn now to our recent experience, drawing on our inspection findings. Ofsted is of course on the front line in observing and reporting on individual schools and on whether the government’s education policy is translating into good practice.
When it comes to British values, we often see an oddly piecemeal approach, which too seldom builds the teaching into a strong context. One strange example I saw that illustrates the tendency to superficiality was in a prison classroom. The lesson was on writing a business plan: perfectly sensible stuff about setting out clearly the business idea, who the customers were, how it was going to be sold, how it would be priced, and so on. And then the teacher said ‘and of course you have to make sure that the plan reflects British values’ and started asking students how they would build each value into their plan.
In another (non-faith) school’s policy that I saw recently, they explain that one of the ways they teach fundamental British values is through looking at the seasons and weather, which is surely stretching the definition a bit.
More generally, we see a lot of wall displays and motivational assemblies, but not much coherent thinking about how a real depth of understanding can be built through the academic curriculum, such as the history examples I gave a few minutes ago. Though, as ever, there are some excellent counter-examples. I have learned that I cannot give a speech that mentions a common but not universal deficiency without some expressions of outrage that I have claimed that everyone is deficient, and at least one follow-up invitation to see a school that does that thing particularly well. I only wish I could visit everyone who writes to me.
I am, however, hoping that our renewed focus on curriculum will encourage schools to think more about what they are teaching, and about what they aim to get from that teaching.
And we should remember that, for some children, school may be the only time in their lives that they spend time every day with people from outside their immediate ethnic or religious group, or at least where the values of people outside their own group can be explained and openly discussed.
This is a good point to discuss faith schools and our inspections of them. I’ve mentioned in other speeches that almost all faith schools do a good job of explaining any tensions between the tenets of their own faith, and the framework of law and policy. Ofsted recognises and indeed frequently acknowledges this publicly. More generally, I want to be absolutely unequivocal: Ofsted has no anti-faith bias or secular agenda.
Where faith schools are performing well, they will continue to be recognised and celebrated by Ofsted. We’re also working with a variety of faith groups to help them understand our work better, and to make sure that our inspectors always have the right level of understanding of how those groups practice their faith. To give an example, we have a collaboration with PaJeS (Partnerships for Jewish Schools) to run information sessions for Jewish school leaders on how they can comply with requirements around equalities and British values in a way that is in line with schools’ religious teachings.
Overall, my view is that the accommodation of religion in state education that was put in place in 1870 has worked remarkably well for nearly 150 years. Today, we see many faith schools playing a pivotal role in promoting integration. Through accidents of history, many Catholic and Church of England schools are quite ethnically diverse – Catholic schools because the Catholic Church is one single international church, and CofE schools because alongside the traditional village primary, a large number of church schools are concentrated in historic centres of population where immigrants form a large proportion of the population, and so have intakes that are quite diverse, both ethnically and religiously. Simon Burgess’s recently published study shows that pupils from one ethnic group feel more positive towards another group if they encounter more pupils from that group in their school. Even small moves away from mono-ethnic schools towards more mixed ones produce positive changes.
In fact, for all of the UK’s major religions, the values of kindness, charity, fair treatment and respect for others are integral to the faith ethos they inculcate in their schools. In most faith schools, that ethos encourages integration and a sense of community that goes beyond the confines of the particular religion.
These strengths are borne out in our inspection judgements. Muslim state schools are almost three times as likely to be outstanding than the national average, and Jewish and Christian state schools are more likely to be good or outstanding than their secular counterparts. The suggestion that Ofsted has an anti-faith school bias is simply not true and does not fit the profile of our judgements.
Digging into some inspection reports clearly shows that it is possible to adhere to a faith while respecting the requirements of equalities law.
So, for example, the report for Eden School in Waltham Forest, a Muslim girls’ school, reads: >The development of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Pupils’ faith systems lead to their participating in worship at start of lessons and demonstrating respect and understanding of the values of the other faiths studied. Pupils live diversity…. They are insightful about what it means to uphold British values…. They are exceptionally well-prepared to live and serve in modern Britain.
Many non-faith schools could probably learn a lot from Eden School’s approach.
Another school – Simon Marks Jewish Primary – had a report that said:
The promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a key strength of the school. It permeates all subjects and all aspects of school life. Leaders map out topics and enrichment experiences to ensure that no opportunity is missed to discuss and learn about key values, including the fundamental British values of tolerance, respect, democracy and the rule of law….For example, following the terrorist acts in London and Manchester, pupils reflected on all the religions they have learned about and decided that no religion would condone such actions.
And to give one more example, from St Damian’s RC Science College, Ashton-under-Lyme:
The spiritual, moral, social and cultural education of pupils is impressive. Pupils are regularly immersed in rich, well-organised opportunities. As a result, pupils are well prepared for life in modern Britain. Leaders organise theme days, ‘Aspire Days’, to enable pupils to understand the concept of British values. Pupils have the opportunity to learn about and discuss cultural diversity and faiths such as Hinduism and Islam.
Yet, we have seen worrying developments in a small number of state schools, as well in some independent schools and in unregistered provision. As I have previously had to report, we do find schools where teaching materials and practices are directly at odds with the requirements of the law, especially the independent school standards and equalities law. But there are other problems too that have been less well aired.
First, we see an expanding sense of religious and/or cultural entitlement to have aspects of a school’s provision dictated by the preferences of a particular group, whether or not members of that group even constitute the majority of a school’s intake. This can affect what is taught and what is not taught, what children take part in and what they are withdrawn from, and what children wear or don’t wear.
And people have even questioned why Ofsted has expressed a view in some recent cases. So, here are my reasons.
First, we need to recognise that where this kind of pressure builds up, it can not only undermine the authority of a head, but also limit the extent to which schools can help build community cohesion and encourage integration. Ofsted must support schools that make justifiable decisions in the interests of all the children who attend their school.
Secondly, we see in some of the more extreme cases that religious group identity and authority are being systematically built up and used to limit individual liberties, such as the right of a girl to enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as a boy. We made a difficult call in the case of Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham that the segregation practised there infringed the law, and our inspectors’ view was upheld in the Court of Appeal.
Thirdly, we see a few schools that set out to withhold from children the knowledge of aspects of science and society that fall squarely within the national curriculum that is the default expectation for all children, but that are deemed incompatible with the relevant faith. And here I’m not just talking about issues related to evolution, reproduction and sexual orientation. A recent state school inspection found that Elizabethan history, chunks of GCSE set texts such as a Sherlock Holmes novel, and most works of art were considered unsuitable for the girls to know about. For a time, exam boards allowed some schools to censor exam papers, even where this meant breaking the rules that protect the integrity of tests.
Again I want to stress that we are talking about a small minority of faith schools here. Most faith schools introduce relevant knowledge at the appropriate time, with clear explanations of any differences between the principles of their faith and British law and the beliefs of others. Indeed, it is worth being clear here on the difference between the requirements around British values and of equalities law. British values must be actively promoted, including the mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. But schools are not required to promote social practices, opinions or lifestyles that they disagree with. Instead, the requirement is for them to convey that these differences exist among us, and are recognised and protected in British law.
In the context of these developments, it is clear that there is a tradition of liberal tolerance across the whole education system that defaults to accommodating religious preferences. Faith itself is, to use the somewhat clunky language of equalities law, one of the 9 protected characteristics. And we often take this preference for accommodating religion in particular quite far: even non-religious people often feel that the preferences of religious groups must be accommodated, even when this means that some children will not receive their full curriculum entitlement.
So, when I have talked about muscular liberalism in the past, it has been about the confidence to sustain our openness and tolerance, and not allow them to be used to accept models of education in this country that close minds and narrow opportunity. All children are born equal, and should know this and know what life opportunities they have – whether or not they choose to take advantage of them in their adult lives. That should apply just as much in Scunthorpe, as in Hackney, as in Cheshire. The draft advice to schools on the independent school standards is rightly clear that the requirement to promote the value of respect for others is not met by encouraging respect for other people in a general way, without any explanation of the protected characteristics.
It is regrettable that we at Ofsted are experiencing increasing hostility from a few schools to law and policy that do not fit well with the preferences of the most conservative religious groups, and to the parts of government that inspect and regulate. Some groups are quick to allege bias or antagonism on the part of inspectors, and sometimes simply to misrepresent the inspection process. The fact that we have found significant shortcomings in a relatively high proportion of schools in the independent sector is alleged to be evidence of a bias against religion, even though no such difference is identifiable in outcomes for schools in the state sector. Our inspectors find and report on truth as they see it, in line with the law.
And one part of that law, the Equalities Act, is a relatively new piece of legislation. Resolving tensions between the different protected characteristics is never going to be clear cut, but as with so much of the messy British constitution, the law probably gets the balance about right. If people have a problem with it, they should lobby MPs to change the law, not blame Ofsted for carrying out its duty to apply the law as it stands.
I hope all this has explained why Ofsted has a role in this sensitive space, and the importance of us reporting honestly on what we are finding. Because this is how the next generation is being shaped to enter society.
And my final point is to emphasise the importance of making these subjects discussable. For many people, the things I have been talking about today are too sensitive and too difficult for them to want to risk giving offence. They are easy things to skirt, yet the risk of doing so is great. If we leave these topics to the likes of the EDL and BNP on the one hand and Islamists on the other, then the mission of integration will fail. To quote Robert Putnam once more, “people divorced from community, occupation, and association are first and foremost among the supporters of extremism”. Putting this back into the more concrete language I used earlier, schools have an extraordinarily important role in making sure that children can fit in, succeed and belong. Ofsted’s role is to apply the lever of inspection to help make sure they do it well.
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