TEACHING BRITISH VALUES
Promoting British Values at St. John’s CE Primary School and Nursery
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, and these values have been reiterated this year (2014). These values are integral to our vision and values. 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.
The British values we espouse are not unique to Britain. We acknowledge that they differ in no way from the values of the many countries and the cultural backgrounds represented by families at St. John’s.
At St. John’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter.
We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The council has its own budget and is genuinely able to effect change within the school. Every child on the school council is voted in by their class.
Children have an annual questionnaire where they are able to put forward their views about the 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.
The Rule of Law
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and consistently reinforced; for example in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses the school rules and class routines, principles 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.
Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school. These are our Golden Rules, Playground Rules and Safety Rules. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Through the PE curriculum, after school clubs and regular sporting events which the children take part in, they are taught acceptable behavior and conduct conducive to good sportsmanship.
At St. John’s, 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 informed choices, through a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our eSafety and PSHE lessons.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. Two of our Golden Rules read: ‘We respect each other and other people’s property’ and ‘We respect our school and its environment.’
One of our school drivers is to 'Prepare children for the 21st Century' thus ensuring that our pupils are able to live and work alongside people from all backgrounds and cultures. This will be particularly necessary in a future where due to technological advances will make the world a smaller place.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone and to everything, whatever differences we may have. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are encouraged to treat each other with respect.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
St. John’s celebrates being a diverse school. We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education lessons and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. Different faiths and cultures are also taught through literacy, history and geography. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. The children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.