In June 2014, the Prime Minister emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
British values can be summarised as:
- Rule of Law
- Individual Liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
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 promote 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 across the world.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we seek to value and celebrate diversity. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate British traditions and customs in the course of the year.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives. For example, they learn about the geography of Britain and where it is in relation to the rest of the world. In History, they will learn about key events in British history such as the ‘Great Fire of London’.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard in both schools across our federation. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our Circles Assemblies when children meet weekly to discuss issues important to the school. Another example is when both schools held a mock ‘general election’ where they learnt about the electoral process during the 2017 general election.
Children are 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 children 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.
Parents’ opinions are invited, encouraged and welcomed through various formal and informal methods.
Rule of Law
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in collective worship 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.
Children 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.
Adults consult children about rules before they are set
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, we provide boundaries for our children to make choices safely; for example:
- choices about what learning challenge or activity
- choices about how they record their learning
- choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
Our children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely. Their ability to exercise their individual liberty effectively is supported by their understanding and application of the Federation’s Christian core values.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Our Christian core values and our love of learning support tolerance and mutual respect for people of differing faiths and beliefs.
Our aim to support our children to become active lifelong learners drives us towards ensuring that our pupils are able to live and work alongside people from differing backgrounds and cultures. Although our schools and communities are not very diverse, we appreciate that with new technologies, the world is a smaller place.
Our children 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.
Specific examples of how we enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education and other lessons where we develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in art and music by considering cultures from other parts of the world.
- celebrating cultural differences through assemblies, themed weeks, noticeboards and displays.
Our understanding of British values is supported by our daily exploration of our Christian core values of respect, responsibility, courage, trust, compassion and perseverance.
We cannot guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to our values. Each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.