“The values I’m talking about – a belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law – are the things we should try to live by every day. To me they’re as British as the Union Flag, as football, as fish and chips. Of course, people will say that these values are vital to other people in other countries. And, of course, they’re right. But what sets Britain apart are the traditions and history that anchors them and allows them to continue to flourish and develop.”
David Cameron 2014
We promote fundamental British values and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We reflect the religious backgrounds represented in our community in collective worship and actively promote British values, encouraging our pupils to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.
The DfE have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to 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.”
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. These values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is embedded throughout our school curriculum. Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council and regular pupil questionnaires. The decisions of the School Council members is based on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced. Our school has ‘Golden Rules’, (Ready, Respectful and Safe) which are deeply embedded in our work every day. Each class also discusses right from wrong and sets their own class rules that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment. Our pupils are taught the values and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school, we educate and provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely; examples of this can be clearly seen in our e-safety and PSHCE lessons. Whether it is through choice of challenge; of how they record; of participation in our numerous extra- curricular activities; our pupils are given the freedom to make choices and are encouraged to act responsibly and show initiative.
As a school that holds values at the core of its ethos, our school values and behaviour policies have evolved around Core Values such as ‘Respect’. The pupils have been part of discussions and collective worship related to what this means and how it is shown. Respect is one of the values that is taught explicitly within lessons, collective worship, enabling pupils to contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of our school. It is shared with home through newsletters and website information. Adults throughout the school model, demonstrate and promote respect for others as do older children who have suitable, age related, tasks and responsibilities and this is reiterated throughout classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour.
Tolerance of Those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
Our core value of Respect ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs. Our school enhances pupils’ understanding of different faiths and beliefs through religious education studies; PSHCE work; visits to other schools in order to participate in celebrations such as Diwali; welcoming visitors from other schools in order to celebrate differences and enjoying a depth of study during themed weeks. Beliefs, traditions and customs from around the world are studied, with visitors being invited into our school to enrich and extend understanding. Through these activities, our pupils gain an enhanced understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.
The promotion of British values and ethos is a key part of life in our school. They are an integral and long standing element to our approach to teaching and learning and the wider school community.
The following information highlights just a few of the ways that these values form part of our everyday school life.