New book calls for a more inclusive approach to British values in schools

Edge Hill University theology and education expert Dr Francis Farrell has used his new book to call on policy makers and educators to use a more inclusive approach when teaching British values in schools.

‘Fundamental British Values, Michel Foucault, and Religious Education Teacher Subjectivity: A Critical Investigation’, contributes to the growing critical literature on fundamental British values and examines how the government’s Prevent strategy has changed the role of teachers.

Based on this extensive research Dr Farrell argues that there is a tension between the aims of RE and the promotion of fundamental British values. He calls on policymakers and educators to take a more nuanced approach to civic and values education to ensure the topic is accessible and appropriate for all young people, no matter their background.

Dr Farrell drew from in-depth individual and group interviews with 52 secondary religious education teachers with a specific focus given to the views of black and minority ethnic teachers.

Dr Farrell said: “Religious education is a subject concerned with multiculturalism and difference. The focus on British values and the requirements of the Prevent duty in schools amount to a securitisation of education which fundamentally alters the relationship between teachers and learners.”

Dr Sadia Habib, lecturer in education at the University of Manchester, reviewed the book, saying: “Farrell’s book is a must-read for all teachers, and especially for trainee teachers who are grappling with the influence of exclusionary and assimilatory discourses around educational policy in schools.”

Dr Francis Farrell is a senior lecturer in theology and religion at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. He worked as an RE teacher in secondary schools in the north of England before joining Edge Hill University’s faculty of education in 2003.

Dr Farrell’s research interests include Buddhism in the UK, gender and education, social justice in education, education policy and policy implementation. His research papers and more information about his work are available to view on the Edge Hill website.

Visit Springer Link to find out more about the book and order a copy.

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