The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2374) came into force on 29 September 2014. The Regulations amended the requirements for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils set out in the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 so that independent schools are now required to
- Actively promote "the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs: and encourage students to respect other people, with particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010";
- Ensure other relevant principles are actively promoted in independent schools, including those which encourage respect for and tolerance of other people and cultural traditions, and respect for democracy and English law;
- Ensure that pupils are offered a balanced and non-partisan presentation of political issues.
The proposed changes to the regulations were the subject of a consultation period from 23 June 2014 until 4 August 2014 (in relation to Part 2 and Part 4) and 18 August on the remaining standards.
The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee published a report last month commenting on inadequacies in the consultation process carried out during the summer and stated that it was not persuaded that the process was handled effectively. The report accepts the concerns voiced by the associations supporting independent schools as well as individual schools that there is a need for sufficient time to consider such changes and to prepare for their implementation.