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British Values and Critical Thinking 

ARC Project

Project aims

  • Explore how British Values can be effectively embedding in a range of settings and subject contexts

  • Enhance learners’ critical thinking faculties, through engagement with ‘big’ ideas and concepts (such as British Values)

British Values.png

Who were involved in the project?

Number of learners? 60+
Level of learners ? Entry level – Level 4
Age range of learners? 16-18, adults
How many lecturers are involved? 6

What happened?

What activities did we complete, individually and collectively?
As a group we participated in P4C training, and experienced this approach from the perspective of a learner.
As teachers, we ran communities of enquiry, and structured discussion-based activities that connected our learners with ‘big ideas’ including the four British Values.
As a group, we evaluated the effectiveness of using these approaches by drawing on learner voice and our own reflections.


Barriers along the way

The following points are recommendations to those that might try something similar with their classes in the future: 

Links to curriculum content are crucial - wherever possible make links between British Values and authentic curriculum content. 
Interpret British Values as behaviours, in which learners can demonstrate their understanding of these in how they act. Make these behaviours explicit to learners.
Adapt the activities so that they are suitable for your learners - e.g. don’t be constricted by following the rules for running a community of enquiry in its entirety
Invest time in community building activities early in the academic year to embed British Values from the outset and enhance peer to peer interactions.


Staff feedback

“Brilliant session! Great student engagement, everyone participated and really listened to one another.”


“Generally British values can be embedded well when discussing professionalism, it can also lead to discussions on topics that can be controversial so it’s important to go in prepared for those discussions.”


“The enquiries themselves I felt were on the whole successful.  The Level 2 debate was lively and fun, covering some interesting points and allowing all participants room to put forward an opinion or point of view.”

Learner feedback

“I just thought about my decisions in a logical way over a moral way”

“it tells me that I am able to make decisions around facts and what we know”

“As a society of many different people, we are quick to see negatives in others when it suits ourselves”

What was the impact on Teaching, Learning & Assessment?

All students provided rationales for their choices during the discussion activities. Students commented on the importance of looking at facts rather than being led by emotions of biases.


Students recognised in these activities the importance of a self-democratic process in coming to a group decision through reasoning and argument. All students successfully reflected on the importance of respect and difference.


The design of the discussions allowed quieter learners a forum to share their thoughts and opnions on important topics

What is the evidence for this?

Evidence documents with learner feedback – see folder link:

Video footage of strategy being trialed:


The links below will allow you to view and download some of the resources we used with our learners as part of the project. For more information about these resources, check out the full project report at the bottom of the page.






SAPERE is the national charity supporting Philosophy for Children, or P4C, in the UK. This report features lots of information about P4C, and how these approaches can used in the classroom.


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