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.”
We believe British values are best defined as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs” although these values are not unique to Britain alone.
We support the rule of English and criminal law and will not teach anything that undermines it.
We have a duty to actively promote and embed these values and to challenge pupils, school personnel or parents who express extremist views contrary to fundamental British values.
We believe these values are reinforced regularly through a broad and balanced curriculum and through:
- The school council, pupil questionnaires, school council elections, class rules
- School rules, playground rules, safety rules, visits from the police, visits from local councilors( Rule of law)
- E-safety, PSHE, extra –curricular activities (Individual liberty)
- Behaviour policy( Mutual respect)
- RE, PHSE, celebration of different faiths and cultures, visits to places of worship.(Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs)
We give pupils first hand experiences of the diverse make up of modern British society by teaching respect of different faiths and cultures.
Each year the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the class rules.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. In September the pupils choose a charity of the year. Pupils present to the school their reasons why a particular charity should be chosen. After a week of presentations the whole school votes in a democratic election. We have a school council which meets half termly to discuss issues raised by pupils in their class. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school.
Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school.
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 the school day, 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.
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. 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 is through choice of a learning challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
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
St Mary’s 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 regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. As a school we celebrate Divali, Harvest, Christmas, Easter, Chinese New Year, Hanukah, Ramadan and Eid. Our RE and Collective worship teaching reinforce this. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
During our focus on Faith day in November 2017 we looked closely at Advent, Hanukkah and Divali. The children were able to experience each of these celebrations through art and craft, dance and food tasting. We discovered why and how the festivals are celebrated all over the world.