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 were reiterated in 2014. At our school, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways, as set out below.
Teachers build the teaching of these British values into their lessons wherever appropriate.
The children are taught about democracy from entry at our school. Each year, children in classes decide upon their class rules, and the rights associated with these. This process is supported by the school’s Home-School Agreement, which is signed by parents on entry. All of the children contribute to the drawing up of their class rules or charter.
Children have many opportunities for their voice to be heard. We have a school council, which meets regularly to discuss any issues raised, and come to solutions. The council has its own budget and is able to effect change within the school. Members are voted in by their class.
Each Thursday, the school’s current affairs forum allows children, in small groups, to give a brief presentation to the rest of the school on a news-based topic, and then these are discussed. Children from the audience are allowed to come out and speak their views, and then the children will vote at the end. Children will be asked each year to give their views about the school in questionnaires.
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. 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. Visits from the Police and Fire Service, as well as regular assemblies form our PCSO, help reinforce this message.
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 people to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering the children to relish education and love learning at all levels, irrespective of any factors which might inhibit them.
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. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge in lesson times, of how they record, of participation in extra-curricular activities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
We all respect the rights of the individual and groups in society. 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.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Starcross Primary School is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse. Therefore, we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are generally planned to address this issue either directly, or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our regular visits form the church to perform Bible stories through the “Open The Book” project have been very effective in conveying this message. Our RE, PSHE, and our attitudes to respecting the rights of others reinforce this daily. Members of different faiths visit the school as appropriate, in order to share their knowledge and understanding, to enhance learning within classes and school, but without proselytizing. Children regularly visit places of worship that are important to different faiths, such as the synagogue, and the local church as appropriate.
At Starcross Primary School we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing views contrary to fundamental British Values.