The Catholic Education Service has today responded to the Department for Education (DfE) consultation the 'Proposed New Independent School Standards'. The consultation document can be found here.
A number of schools have contacted us with queries relating to the consultation. Please be assured that we do not consider the proposed requirements to present any problems for Catholic schools.
Catholic schools are already required to comply with the requirements of the Equality Act and, as public bodies, specifically with the Public Sector Equality Duties. These are set within the context of the freedoms that apply to schools with a religious character. (Please see CES guidance on the Equality Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty)
The CES has already engaged in discussions with the DfE about 'British values'. In the regulations this consultation refers to, these values are set out as; "democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs". None of these ought to be problematic in our schools.
The CES is aware that the DfE is intending to make the same requirements of all schools and will be updating guidance to help schools to understand what this should look like. The CES is of course engaging with the DfE in relation to the production of that guidance.