The DfE have 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, and these values have been reiterated this year (2014). At our school these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways. We keep an up to date audit of all such teaching and learning opportunities.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at our school.
Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc.
Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council are actively involved in recruitment and in providing teachers with feedback.
Other examples of pupil voice are:
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. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
Our pupils will encounter rules and laws throughout their entire lives. We want our pupils to understand that whether these laws govern the class, the school, the neighborhood or the country, they are set for good reasons and must be adhered to.
This understanding of the importance of rules will be consistently reinforced through assemblies and our curriculum. The involvement of our pupils in the creation of the school rules helps them to understand the reasons behind the rules and the consequences if they are broken.
Throughout the year we welcome visits from members of the wider community including police, the fire brigade and many more. We believe that clear explanations and real life stories emphasize the importance of the rule of law for our pupils. Also, during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about and during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our e-safety and PSHE lessons.
Part of our school ethos and behavior policy has revolved around core values such as ‘Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. All members of the school community treat each other with respect and pupils understand that respect needs to be shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have. Displays around the school promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behavior policy. The core value of Respect at our school underpins our work every day, both in and out of the classroom.
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions, and those who speak languages other than English, are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.