Claim UK Government urging children to sing pro-Britain song is True

Ferret Fact Service | Scotland's impartial fact check project

Controversy has erupted after it was claimed that the UK Government is supporting school children singing a song in support of Britain on June 25.

A Twitter account called Politics for All tweeted that: “The government is urging children to sing this song on June 25”. 

The post contains a song called “We are Britain and we have one dream to unite all people in one Great Team”. 

This was widely shared and reported on by numerous media outlets.

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it True

Evidence 

The song is linked to a campaign called One Britain, One Nation (OBON), which came to national prominence when it was promoted by the Department for Education on 21 June 2020. 

A message on the department’s Twitter account said: “We’re encouraging schools across the UK to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June, when children can learn about our shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect.”

The announcement was controversial, with commentators comparing the song to shows of patriotism in North Korea, and suggesting it was an attempt to foster nationalist sentiments. 

What is One Britain, One Nation?

The group was started by police officer Kash Singh in 2013. It promotes British identity and patriotism, with the stated aim to “create a real sense of collective identity regardless of one’s background”.

It is promoting a celebration of British identity, called One Britain, One Nation day, in schools to take place on 25 June. 

The group was first mentioned in the UK parliament in 2018, after Conservative MPs Andrea Jenkyns and Andrew Rosindell set up the One Britain, One Nation All-Party Parliamentary Group. It was later brought up by Conservative MP Esther McVey,  and Phillip Davies MP, who asked Education secretary Gavin Williamson on 21 June to endorse OBON Day, which he did. 

He said: “We have already asked schools to participate, and I am happy to reiterate the endorsement of the project from the Dispatch Box and to encourage them to play their part in it.”

Will schoolchildren be urged to sing the song?

The One Britain, One Nation Day brochure outlines a number of facets of the day itself. 

At 10am on 25 June, they are asking all school pupils in the UK to “clap for a minute to recognise, embrace and pay tribute to all those people who helped during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis”. The second major element of the day is to sing the anthem, which was written by “school children at St John’s CE Primary School, Bradford”. It is called We are Britain and we have one dream to unite all people in one Great Team, and contains the refrain: “We are Britain; And we have one dream; To unite all people; In one great team.”

In Scotland, many schools will be off for summer holidays, so would be unable to attend OBON day if it were held. It is not known how many UK schools are planning to take part in the day. 

The DfE said it backed the principles of the day but “has not asked people to sing songs or endorsed any specific materials”. 

Ferret Fact Service verdict: True

The UK Government is backing the campaign celebrating Britishness in schools. While the Department for Education hasn’t specifically endorsed the song itself, it forms a central part of the plan for the day and One Britain, One Nation wants all schoolchildren to sing it. However, the campaign is not government-run but was started by a former police officer in 2013.

This claim is True

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, and a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here. Want to suggest a fact check? Go to ideas.theferret.scot, email us at factcheck@theferret.scot or join our Facebook group.

Photo Credit: iStock/Highwaystarz-Photography

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