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Why Fundamental British Values are so important in Early Years Education.

Updated: May 15, 2021

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

Nelson Mandela

Since the recent death of George Floyd in the U.S and the rise of the “Black Lives Matter” campaign, the topics of equality, inclusion and diversity have been thrust into the forefront of everyone’s awareness and the early years sector is no exception.

In early years we understand that children learn by observing the people around them and develop their attitudes from their social environment. In early years we understand that a child's early experiences form the foundation upon which their future attitudes are formed and that early years education is absolutely crucial in the fight for a more equal society in modern Britain.

Our Fundamental British Values play an important role here too. These important, universal, core values are not only vital for preparing our children for life in modern Britain but are also integral to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Over the years, I've had many learners and practitioners ask me how they should be promoting the Fundamental British Values as there seems to be some confusion around the subject. In my experience, some settings go out of their way to show they are aware of the Fundamental British Values, usually through displays, posters and various incarnations of the Union Jack Flag but does this show that we are actively promoting them?

Let’s take a look at them in more detail:

The Fundamental British Values are:

  1. Democracy

  2. Rule of Law

  3. Individual Liberty

  4. Mutual Respect and Tolerance

The primary intention of embedding these Fundamental British Values within the EYFS is to support the statutory ‘Prevent’ guidance that, as the name suggests, prevents children, including the very young from being radicalised at an early age.

More widely – these values inform early years policy and practice within the broader context of equality and diversity, children’s rights, anti-discrimination, SEND, safeguarding, education and more.

The good news is that if you are actively promoting all aspects of the EYFS and drawing guidance from it as per its intended use – you will already be promoting Fundamental British Values and in turn, equality, diversity and inclusion – it just helps to be fully aware of this when Ofsted ask.

Download our free resource below to help you identify exactly how to promote the Fundamental British values and in turn equality, diversity and inclusion through 'a unique child', 'positive relationships' and 'enabling environments' of the EYFS.

fundamental british values in the EYFS
Download D • 35KB

What does the Early years Inspection Handbook for Ofsted Registered Provision (2019) say about ‘Fundamental British Values’?

The Early years Inspection Handbook for Ofsted Registered Provision 2019 states:

Judgement area: Leadership and management: ‘Leadership and Management are likely to be inadequate if: Equality, diversity and British values are not actively promoted in practice’.

Judgement area: Personal Development: ‘In order to judge whether a provider is good, the provider prepares children for life in modern Britain by: developing their understanding of Fundamental British Values.’

Regardless of which judgement area they fall under, I do know that we have extensive experience of Ofsted inspections here at Maybird Training, and Fundamental British Values is one of those topics that inspectors like to question both staff and leaders about so its well worth familiarising yourself with them and being confident that you ARE actively promoting them.

1. Democracy

Democracy is where we make decisions together. Like many of the other Fundamental British Values, it’s also about making sure that everyone has equal rights and is treated fairly. All children’s views matter, and it’s important they are given the opportunity to share and collaborate to make decisions together.

Where does it fit in the EYFS?

PSED – Self-Confidence and Self-Awareness. Click on the pdf below to see exactly where the current EYFS already embodies all 4 of the Fundamental British Values: (We've highlighted the exact areas to make your life that little bit easier – you’re welcome)