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 by the Prime Minister. At Ashton St. Peter’s Primary these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy: The promotion of democracy is extensive within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council and pupil questionnaires. Children in each class vote for the children they want to represent them on school Council. The School Council suggest and discuss which charities the school will support. Children contribute suggestions via ‘Suggestion Boxes’ around the school, linked to changes and developments within 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 regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school worship times. 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 authorities such as the Fire Service and ‘Big Talk’ are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Individual Liberty: 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, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, for example signing up for extra-curricular clubs and choosing the level of challenge in some lessons.
Mutual Respect: As a Church of England school, our ethos is based around core Christian values, including respect. Our aim, ‘To seek to open our hearts and minds to the love of God and learning’ is firmly based on the value of respect, which permeates all aspects of school life, including our school development plan and behaviour policy. This is supported by our values led worship time and main hall display, with a different value each month. Pairs of classes meet each half term to work on a range of activities, which helps to promote respect between children of different ages. At Christmas time the whole school participates in ‘Decoration Day’. Grandparents are invited for the day to work with their grandchildren and others making a variety of Christmas decorations and share lunch together. This is an extremely popular event where grandparents feel valued by the staff and children.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs: This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Worship times and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Every class learns about different faiths and beliefs within the curriculum.