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How do you promote British values when values education is your profession? Policy enactment of FBV amongst teachers of Religious Education, Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education in England

McDonnell, Jane (2020) How do you promote British values when values education is your profession? Policy enactment of FBV amongst teachers of Religious Education, Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health Education in England. Cambridge Journal of Education. ISSN 0305-764X

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Abstract

Research on the promotion of ‘fundamental British values’ (FBV) in English schools has tended to focus on its nationalistic and securitising elements. Its role within a broader, politically conservative shift in values education, both in England and beyond, has received less attention. This paper addresses the latter, reporting on research into FBV with secondary school teachers who already see themselves as values educators. Using life history methods, the research investigated how the teachers’ subject backgrounds and existing commitments to values education influenced their enactment of the policy. Findings suggest that the teachers’ existing enthusiasm for values education per se acted as an important factor in their willingness to engage seriously with the policy. Personal and professional commitments, as well as subject-specific pedagogies, were important in the ways teachers responded creatively to FBV, indicating the significant role of teacher agency in responding to the shifting policy landscape in values education.

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