Integrated Communities Strategy 2018
Government response: We welcome the fact that many respondents to the consultation recognised meaningful social mixing in schools as an important driver for integration. Some individuals disagreed because they perceived our proposals would force social mixing. We believe that providing children and young people with opportunities to have meaningful interactions with those from different backgrounds, helps foster more positive attitudes, builds understanding of different communities and cultures and breaks down barriers to greater integration. We will, therefore, continue to support approaches that promote social mixing between young people in schools and colleges, such as the Schools Linking Programme, and we will continue to work with the National Citizen Service and other charities and organisations that support innovative approaches for mixing beyond the school gates. Some respondents had concerns with the term ‘fundamental British Values’. While not unique to Britain, these are the shared values which underpin and unite our society, and the teaching of them is intended to help prepare children and young people for life in modern, diverse Britain. By actively promoting these values – democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs – schools play a vital role in equipping children and young people with the skills, values and knowledge to play a positive role in shaping cohesive and integrated communities. We will continue to work with the education sector to support them to embed and teach these values through their institutions’ ethos and activities.
We will continue to fund programmes which help promote social mixing, such as Near Neighbours and Schools Linking, which show that bonds can be formed with people from very different backgrounds and that people often find shared values and concerns, regardless of background.