For, while retired Bradford police inspector Kash Singh was motivated by the best of intentions when he came up with the concept, the teaching of values should be left to the discretion of individual schools; it should not be prescriptive in this way.
And while Downing Street has since distanced itself from today’s events, stressing pupils do not have to sing schools or be indoctrinated in the OBON’s objectives, Mr Williamson’s backing has been bemusing.
His sole focus should be putting in place plans to help pupils – particularly in areas that were already at a disadvantage prior to the pandemic – catch up on learning that has been lost to the Covid pandemic.
Instead the DfE remains rudderless after Chancellor Rishi Sunak vetoed the £15bn catch-up plan devised by former head Sir Kevan Collins who has since resigned as Education Recovery Commissioner.
And, in the meantime, time is of the essence – not least for those pupils finishing their primary education before starting school in September or those older students about to start two-year GCSE and A-Level courses that will define the rest of their lives.
Their needs are immediate if gaps in their knowledge, and ability, are to be addressed and not compromise the next stage of their education. That means the Government providing schools with the funding so that they can put in place targeted support – while the only chanting should be a collective rendition of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ at the direction of Mr Williamson, and Downing Street, until Boris Johnson hears the disquiet and appoints an Education Secretary worthy of such a prestigious post.