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Speaking to Headteachers of Independent schools in London, Environment Minister Baroness Blatch said: 'We should no...
Speaking to Headteachers of Independent schools in London, Environment Minister Baroness Blatch said: 'We should not and do not expect school to take the place of the family, in which moral principles are practised and handed on, underpinned in some cases by a particular religious faith. But nor should schools be 'value- free zones'.'

'The school community acts for pupils as a microcosm of the wider community, in which we will in time expect our children to play their full part as thinking and caring citizens. As such, it should have a clear ethos round which pupils and staff alike can unite, which gives a focus for reinforcing a coherent set of values with which all can identify,' she said.

'The Government considers this to be a crucial part of a school's role. All maintained schools are now required to include in their prospectuses a statement of the school's ethos, and this is one of the aspects of a school that OFSTED is required to inspect. I know that there are many excellent independent schools which follow this practice.

'The Government places great importance on the provision of proper religious education. The statute quite properly reflects the mainly Christian traditions of this country, and also requires children to be taught about the other principal religions. It is important that this teaching gives both educational rigour and a freedom to explore the spiritual significance of what is learned. Drawing up a syllabus which performs this function effectively is not a simple task, but it is crucial and worthwhile.'
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