British Values in the Curriculum
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.”
At our school these British Values are reinforced regularly and are an integral part of our curriculum including PHSE and RE.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a Head Boy and Head Girl who represent the children in our school. They had to confidently give speeches to say why they would make good candidates. The whole school voted in a secret ballot. The Head Boy and Head Girl are also part of our School Council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in school. The Council is able to genuinely effect change within the school. Each Key Stage 2 class has two Council members who are elected through a democratic process by their peers. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates nominate themselves by letter, make speeches and answer questions and pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. The School Council representatives hold class council meetings on a regular basis in which they report back to the class and find out the views of their class members. The Council have organized charity events, taken action to improve our school meals and spoken to others.
- Choosing which extra-curricular clubs to participate in
- Choosing which roles of responsibility they are keen to take on – School Council, prefects and sports council.
- Choosing where they learn and challenge themselves
Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons.
Our school ethos is built on having respect for others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. This is evident in the very warm relationships of staff and pupils and parents. The concept of respect is regularly discussed in assemblies and is often referred to when dealing with behaviour. Our school vision is a family of independent life-long learners that reach for the stars. The family aspect of this is seen to be very important and is evident in the warm way that pupils care for each other and support each other. We value and respect each other as friends and celebrate our differences.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
We are a diverse school with children who come from different cultures and different backgrounds therefore we place great emphasis on promoting diversity and respecting everyone, no matter which faith and background they are from.
Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforces this. We offer a culturally rich and diverse curriculum in which all major religions are studied and respected.
Specific examples of how we at our school enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- By including in our topic cycle, topics which focus on some of the main religions of the world including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
- By encouraging members of different faiths or religions to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
- By developing awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world.
- By learning about other cultures and countries with beliefs and religion being a part of this.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school. Pupil interviews also form part of the Headteacher’s regular monitoring cycle and allows the children to express opinions about their learning and what it is like to be a learner in our school.
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.
Democracy is also discussed in assemblies particularly at a time of national significance such as General Elections.
Some curriculum opportunities are also exploited to teach children about democracy. This will include learning about life in Ancient Greece and the influence of this society that is still felt on the western world.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own rules and there is plenty of discussion about why rules are necessary within school and society as a whole.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. These values are reinforced in different ways:
- Visits from authorities such as the Police, Fire Service and Lifeguards help reinforce this message.
- During Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
- During other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example
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 young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education.
Children make these choices regularly:
- Choosing which area to work in in the EYFS classrooms
- Choosing their school dinners by pre-ordering from a menu