Schools should promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs1. This can help schools to demonstrate how they are meeting the requirements of section 78 of the Education Act 2002, in their provision of SMSC. (See attached guidance)
Actively promoting the values means challenging opinions or behaviours in school that are contrary to fundamental British values. Attempts to promote systems that undermine fundamental British values would be completely at odds with schools’ duty to provide SMSC. The Teachers’ Standards expect teachers to uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school. This includes not undermining fundamental British values.
Promoting British Values and Preparing our Pupils for Life in Modern Britain
The DfE have recently reinforced the need for schools 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 this year. At St. Stephen’s CE Primary School these values are regularly reinforced in the following ways:
- We are a listening school. Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and respect the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard.
- Children are encouraged to debate, which promotes critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork: all vital qualities to ensure that they are equipped to fulfil their responsibilities as citizens of a democracy. Pupils grow to appreciate how lucky they are living in a democratic society.
- Children across the school are involved in democratic processes where they have the opportunity to have their voices heard
- School Council representatives meet regularly and have a responsibility to report back to the rest of their class during ‘Class Council’ times. Children put themselves forward through a short presentation and the election of the members is based on pupil votes, thereby demonstrating democracy in action. Pupils help to shape our school by having their voices heard in regular Class Council sessions.
- Year Six children have the opportunity to apply to be Head boy and Head girl. Candidates write a letter of application and are chosen by a mixed panel of staff and children.
- Family group leaders are voted for by their family group members after presenting a short presentation. Family group leaders work alongside staff to plan and organise events and celebrations.
- Two children from Year 1 up to Year 6 are selected to form part of the Worship Committee. The Worship Committee work with Fr David and the DHT to drive and develop the experience of worship within school. They organised the Harvest day in October.
- Governors work alongside DHT to meet a random selection of children to discuss a range of issues. The minutes of the Pupil Voice sessions are fed back to the Head teacher and Governors to inform decision making.
- Children are involved in the staff recruitment process for Senior Leadership Positions.
- There is a fair and consistent Behaviour Policy with agreed rewards and sanctions.
THE RULE OF LAW
- Children are taught the importance of laws and rules; whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country.
- Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind these laws: that they govern and protect them, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Pupils are shown how they can contribute to the well-being of those in the locality and beyond, through many events such as supporting charities, local visits and singing to the elderly.
- The children learn from an early age that we are all subject to the Rule of Law which applies in this country. The children understand how laws are there to protect us; keeping us safe. They acknowledge their responsibility to uphold laws and understand the consequences when laws are broken.
- Children are taught from an early age the rules of the school, the value and the reasons behind these rules, the responsibilities that these involve and the consequences when these are broken.
- Parents sign numerous consent forms when there child starts school along with a home school agreement.
- The Positive Behaviour Policy is shared with all stakeholders.
- Annual Parent / Carers questionnaires include questions which relate to behaviour, safety etc.
- Links with Police Officers and other services support the importance of laws are encouraged.
- Throughout the year, assemblies link to the law e.g. anti-bullying, e-safety.
- Anti-bullying Week and E-safety Day help children to understand how to behave towards each other and how to be safe.
- The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, is consistently reinforced. Each class discusses and sets its own rules that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment where adults are always ready to listen to them. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe learning environment. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and learn how they can do so safely, for example through our E-Safety and Circle Time sessions. St. Stephen’s School seeks to provide opportunities for pupils to become positive and emotionally resilient with the knowledge and confidence to stand by their own convictions, whilst also respecting others.
- 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. Children develop an understanding of tolerance and mutual respect. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
- Our SEAL topics allow planned opportunities to develop topics such as Good to be Me, Going for Goals, Relationships, etc These units enable children to develop a greater understanding of themselves, those around them and those in our local community.
- Positive relationships encouraged and modelled throughout the school i.e child-child, adult – child, adult – adult.
- Our Religious Education curriculum enables children to learn not only knowledge but also develop an understanding of the world of religion and how beliefs impact on daily lives. This helps develop tolerance and mutual respect for religious viewpoints.
- We hold a Celebration Worship every Friday where children show respect for achievement in each class.
- Annual Anti-bullying Week and E-safety Day explore how our behaviours affect others.
- Promotion of ‘fair play’ in PE and Sport sessions
UNDERSTANDING OF THOSE WITH DIFFERENT FAITHS AND BELIEFS
This is achieved through enhancing children’s understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
Our RE scheme of learning throughout the school involves the children learning both knowledge and understanding of the different world religions and how these beliefs impact on daily lives. Christianity as the main religion, is taught alongside Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism. All children have the opportunity to meet face to face with believers from faith communities, visiting their place of worship and experiencing the culture first hand.
We celebrate festivals throughout the year e.g. Diwali, Chinese New Year, Hanukah as part of our R. E. Curriculum.
Reflection opportunities are embedded effectively into daily worship and allow children to make connections and respond in their own way.
2015 NEXT STEPS
- Suggestions box for Headteacher
- Annual ‘Parliament day’
- Democracy, Rule of Law, Liberty, Mutual Respect, Understanding of Those with Different Faiths and Beliefs workshops in school to launch each strand with the children.
- Multicultural family learning opportunities.