The Department for Education has introduced a statutory duty for schools to promote British Values more actively from September 2014, and to ensure they are taught in schools.
St Mary Magdalene C of E Primary School committed to serving its community. It recognises the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. It also understands the vital role it has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.
It follows equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. St Mary Magdalene C of E Primary School is dedicated to preparing children for their adult life beyond the formal, examined curriculum and ensuring that it promotes and reinforces British values to all its pupils.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. The five key British Values are:
· The rule of law
· Individual liberty
· Mutual respect
· Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
The school uses strategies within the national curriculum and beyond to secure such outcomes for students. The examples that follow show some of the many ways St Mary Magdalene C of E Primary School seeks to instil British Values, and the impact on children’s knowledge and skills.
Democracy is part of the day to day life within the school. It is modelled by all staff within the building who ‘show tolerance and respect for the rights of others,’ and ‘act with integrity and honesty’. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard on a daily basis, with adults taking the time to listen and respond. Pupil voice is high on our agenda: children are consulted regularly during curriculum reviews and this informs feedback that senior leaders give to staff about the effectiveness of their teaching. Our School Council members are democratically elected annually having shared their reasons for applying with the whole school. Regular meetings are led by two members of staff and also model a democratic decision making process. Democracy is taught to the children and they are encouraged to follow the news in relation to voting, with children given opportunities to debate the issues currently being addressed through our ‘Philosophy Club’. This year, the children have contributed to the new school prayer through class contributions and subsequent Worship Group collaboration.
The Rule of Law
As a school we have a set behaviour policy that has created in consultation with School Council and agreed by everyone working in the school. The importance of laws, rules and rights are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through collective worship. 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. Pupils learn with restorative practices where they are given opportunity to talk openly with each other to put right what has gone wrong and learn for next time. The school actively supports children in it being a ‘safe place to make mistakes’. Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service; Ambulance staff etc. help to reinforce this message.
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 safety, through provision of a safe environment and a culture of independent learning. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our Philosophy Club, E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Classroom environments allow pupils to make active decisions about how they want to learn. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, whether through choice of challenge, how they record their work, or their individual participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities.
Respect for self and each other is a value that is at the centre of our school ethos. Through Collective Worship, pupils are encouraged to listen and respect the views of others. Collective Worship promotes respect for people of other faiths and none, and pupils have been part of discussions related to what this means and how it is shown. Our school behaviour policy promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and rules. Additional support is given to individual children to help develop self – esteem and the concept of respect. When a child does something well their achievement is celebrated in a weekly ‘Celebration Assembly’, or our half-termly ‘Ethic of Excellence Assemblies’.
Tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs
We value the importance of helping to shape the pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Our RE Curriculum includes direct teaching about others’ faiths so that children learn to respect others’ beliefs and views, including the views of those without faith. Collective Worship discussions involve examining prejudices and prejudice based bullying are also held.