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The Psy-Security-Curriculum ensemble: British Values curriculum policy in English schools

Winter, C. & Mills, C. (2018). The Psy-Security-Curriculum ensemble: British Values curriculum policy in English schools. Journal of Education Policy, 35(1), pp. 46-67. doi: 10.1080/02680939.2018.1493621


Framed as being in response to terrorist attacks and concerns about religious bias in some English schools, ‘British Values’ (BV) curriculum policy forms part of the British Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, 2015. This includes a Duty on teachers in England to actively promote British Values to deter students from radicalisation. This paper, first, traces the history of Britishness in the curriculum to reveal a prevalence of nationalistic, colonial values. Next, an ensemble of recent policies and speeches focusing on British Values is analysed, using a psycho-political approach informed by anti-colonial scholarship. Finally, we interrogate two key critiques of the British Values curriculum discourse: the universality of British Values globally, and concerns over the securitisation of education. Findings indicate that the constitution of white British supremacist subjectivities operate through curriculum as a defence mechanism against perceived threats to white privilege, by normalising a racialised state-controlled social order. The focus is on ‘British’ values, but the analytic framework and findings have wider global significance.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License(, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in anymedium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Publisher Keywords: Discourse/analysis, race, Psychopolitics, curriculum
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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