Promoting British Values
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, 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. At Wallsend St Peter's Church of England Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Being Part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the heritages of everybody at Wallsend St Peter's C of E Primary. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the Autumn term, and valuing and celebrating national events. In addition to this, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Wallsend St Peter's C of E Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate. An example of this is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes, candidates then represent classes etc. Made up of two representatives from each class from Years 2-6, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. Each teacher has different ways in which the pupils make their voices heard in their classroom e.g. through Circle Time, questionnaires, discussions, decisions over classroom rules and debate. Pupils have a great amount of input in regards to what and how they learn, which promotes pupil voice. We also try to challenge injustice through our curriculum e.g. we look at people such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Helen Keller. 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 laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days and through school worship and assemblies. The children are taught right from wrong. 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 Police, Fire Service, Road Safety Officers etc are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message. Work in RE on codes for living in different religions and in sports lessons where there is respect and appreciation for different rules, allow pupils to discuss the importance of this value.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make choices safely, through the 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 PSHCE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. We also try to give ownership of learning to the children and promote a personal investigative approach. At break and lunchtimes, the children are allowed to use the vast range of equipment that we have available in or outside space. Our shared values in the school promote both staff and children as good role models and we take opportunities to challenge stereotypes whenever the opportunity arises. Opportunities are also taken to explore that with individual liberty and freedom comes responsibilities to the local community and wider world.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect. Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Restorative Justice and core values such as ‘Respect’ – pupils have been part of discussions and lessons related to what this means and how it is shown. As a school we promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules as well as our rewards and sanctions system. We support events such as ‘Anti-Bullying’ week and frequently focus on this value during our Collective Worship time. We promote respect through Restorative Justice and Circle Time. We provide opportunities for children to learn to respect others through our curriculum enrichment e.g. visits and workshops about people from other cultures and traditions. We promote respect through having an active ‘Accessibility’ plan where we promote inclusion; and we support charities where they promote respect and tolerance.
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. Teaching and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHCE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. We celebrate festivals throughout the year from all the world religions. Visitors into school enhance our understanding. As part of our RE curriculum we visit places of worship e.g. churches, mandirs, temples, mosques, synagogues and gurdwaras. We strongly believe that tolerance is gained through knowledge and understanding. Through our curriculum and the routines of our daily school life, we strive to demonstrate tolerance and help children to become knowledgeable and understanding citizens who can build a better Britain for the future.