The Department for Education 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 and emphasised very publicly.
At St Mary’s we work closely with stakeholders to promote these values by sharing ideas and best practice. Activities that support British Values are shared through our weekly newsletter and news feed. The following statement reflects the importance of British Values within our school and how these values are upheld on a daily basis.
Children have the opportunity to nominate and vote for members of School Council and Eco Council. They are encouraged to express their views democratically and to make lead decisions on issues to do with the organisation of the school. Our core values of mutual respect and listening to the views of others encourages democracy in the children’s daily learning and play. Our behaviour policies are understood and supported by our children and all are encouraged to value the contribution of others to classroom and school life. They are taught to abide by the agreed wishes of the majority.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws is taught from as early as Reception (nursery). Our behaviour systems both empower children to make the right choices and show them that there are consequences to acting against the accepted rules. We teach the value and reasons behind laws and how they govern and protect us. School rules are consistent across the school and are fundamental to our behaviour policy. Reward systems are in place for children who demonstrate a commitment to following them.
We pride ourselves in providing a safe and supportive environment in which children can confidently learn about the freedom of choices. In class or assemblies and Collective Worship we may discuss people who have battled for individual liberty and freedom. We encourage the children to think about their role within a global society and how passion and motivation can support change. We also empower children within their learning through our assessment for learning systems where children are able to participate in the decision relating to the next level of challenge that they undertake. We present pupils with relevant information regarding E-Safety and personal freedoms through our computing (ICT) and PSHE curriculum. Children have opportunities to participate in a range of extra-curricular activities.
Respect is key to our ethos, to our vision of living, learning and growing together; and is reflected in our behaviour policy. ‘Show Respect’ is the second of our three part school code so children are often involved in discussions about what this means and how it is shown. As a Church School, leaders and visitors regularly introduce and discuss how our Christian faith supports and encourages respect and love of others.
Tolerance of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs:
Since our school is a predominantly white, mono-cultural environment, we are keen to ensure that our children see themselves as part of a global, diverse community. Through RE, PSHE, assemblies and Collective Worship we help them to develop an understanding of other faiths and cultures. We seek to allow every child in the school to identify with their own culture but encourage them to look at different faiths and religions. Through introducing a modern foreign language during Key Stage 2 we help children to understand that they live in an interdependent world.