The Department for Education state that there is a 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 were reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2014.
At St John's and St Clement's Church of England Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Democracy is an important value at our school. Pupils 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 have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council. The elections of members of the School Council are based on pupil votes reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council and regular questionnaires.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws and rules, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced. Our ‘Ladder’system for behaviour is aligned to our school’s agreed values (respect, co-operation, honesty, responsibility and love). If children make the wrong decision regarding their behaviour, they are given the opportunity to reflect and make the correct choice. Merits are awarded for children making the right decisions regarding the school values.
Visits from authorities such as the police, fire service, lifeguards etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Pupils are actively encouraged to make choices at our school, 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 a creative curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-Safety teaching and PSHE lessons. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, e.g. signing up for extra-curricular clubs, choosing the whole school focus for our Spring topic, deciding on the outcomes for their creative curriculum homework.
The pupils understand that respect is essential in order that we exist in harmony with each other. It is expected that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small. The core value of Respect at St John’s and St Clement’s underpins our work every day both in and out of the classroom. Children and adults alike, including visitors, are challenged if they are disrespectful in any way. Values are highly visible around the school and can be seen in posters, certificates and as part of our agreed codes.
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 celebrates the different faiths and beliefs of our families. We enhance pupils’ understanding of different faiths and beliefs through religious education studies including visits to a range of places of worship and inviting pupils and parents in to class to talk about their own faith. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE.
Some examples of British Values being taught through our creative curriculum:
In Reception, the “Wonderful World” Focus on ‘what makes us special’ topic which celebrates differences and respect for others’ beliefs/lives/families. In Year 1, the focus on the “Natural World” means the children have learnt about the seven continents and celebrated differences in cultures and beliefs. Year 2 children have studied Kings and Queens and planned how they would rule a country through their “Inspirational People” topic. In Year 3, through the “Power to the People” topic, the year group have focused on Barack Obama and his influence on the world calling their work “Making a change!”. They went onto to focus on the effects of global warming and what they could do about it. Year 4, in their “Footprints of the past” topic have studied the Vikings and even set up their own Viking Thing (government), re-enacting a community under threat from Harald Finehair. As part of the Year 5 “Inspirational People” topic, Floella Benjamin visited the school and the children learnt about her life and fight against discrimination. Year 6 children through the topic “Footprints of the past” learnt about how the Victorian Match girls demanded democracy when fighting for their working rights.