Mum sends brilliant letter to nursery after it asks about her toddler's 'British values'

At the Tory party conference in Birmingham this month, David Cameron spoke about cracking down on those who "groom young people and brainwash their minds" into Islamic radicalisation.

The new Extremist Bill includes a mandate that schools will have a greater care of duty as part of Prevent, the government's anti-radicalisation scheme, which has been described as "toxic" in the past because of the mistrust it fosters in the Muslim community.

Recent questionnaires given to primary school children in London to determine whether they hold 'extremist' views were widely criticised as watch-listing Muslim children as young as 10 years of age.

But Alison Phipps from Brighton wrote on Twitter today to point out that her two-year-old son's nursery school had emailed to say it was going to start 'promoting British values' in order to comply with the new Prevent measures.

In an email to, Phipps said the nursery had confirmed to her that it is also going to conduct "risk assessment of the potential for radicalisation" in order to comply with the new Ofsted requirements.

In a jokey letter, Phipps asked the nursery administrators which behaviours parents should be on the look out for.

It strikes me that crying is particularly un-British. Especially in the baby room, there has not been enough done to ensure the development of a stiff upper lip.

There was also some cause for worry among the toddlers, she said.

There is a fair amount of worship of Peppa Pig, which might be in homage to the Prime Minister, but may also serve a darker purpose.

Phipps told that the values the nursery said they were going to focus on, as set out by government guidelines, are:

  • democracy
  • the rule of law
  • individual liberty
  • mutual respect
  • tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs

Early years providers and schools that do not obey the rules are at risk of funding cuts and other disciplinary action.

In an email Phipps said she found the early years focus of the Prevent scheme especially worrying.

To my mind, expecting educators to promote 'British values' as if these actually exist, are superior to those of other countries/cultures and mean that we should treat those 'others' with suspicion, is a toxic message to give to children.

Earlier this month the prime minister stressed that Prevent is not about 'criminalising' Muslim children, but about tackling radicalisation from all sides.

Our new Prevent duty for schools is not about criminalising or spying on Muslim children. This is paranoia in the extreme.

In fact that duty will empower parents and teachers to protect children from all forms of extremism – whether Islamist or neo-Nazi.

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