chapter  8
The British National Identity
Pages 17

This chapter examines ambivalent ministerial views of the national identity, the crisis of national identity, political resistance to Britain as a multi-ethnic society, and a developing nationalism in education. It briefly makes out an economic case for multicultural global education rather than educational nationalism. The Swann report (DES, 1985a) took as its ideological starting point the view that Britain has long been a pluralist society in which regional variations and sub-cultural groupings are accepted as part of a British way of life. The chapter suggests that while supporters of educational change for all pupils in a multi-ethnic society have been engaged in description and prescription and in 'multi' versus 'anti' debates, they have ignored the question of national identity. Debate on the meaning of a post-imperial national identity and how a reexamined British heritage and culture should be passed on in education is crucial in multi-ethnic Britain.