The DfE have 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 term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries, for example.
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated this year (2014). At our school these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at our school. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Modern 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 what could be more British than a trip to a pantomime around Christmas time and a school Christmas production!
Two specific examples we are introducing to teach about being part of Britain are on alternate years we will have theme days of –
Whole-school “Where in the World” topic ensures that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
- its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
- how ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and ‘the United Kingdom’
- where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Time Travel is a whole-school topic. The main focus is British history. During the topic, children learn about an aspect life and how this has developed and changed over time. The actual topic depends on the interests of the children, but might include inventions and discoveries, or houses, or medicine.
Promoting British values at our school
The Department for Education’s five-part definition of British values:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect
- tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets to discuss issues raised in class. The School Council is a working example to the children of elections/representation responsibilities in practice.
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.
Children in the school council are to develop an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about 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 assemblies. 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.
Other ways the message about the rule of law is reinforced is through
- visits from authorities such as the police and fire service.
- during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about.
- during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example.
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 safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviour’s have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Our school is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse; therefore we place an emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths. Post 16 tend the remembrances garden at the local church and the garden at the local hospice.
Rigby Hall School took part in a 2 year Comenius project where the staff and pupils celebrated our traditions and beliefs as well as those from the schools in Austria and the Netherlands.
KS3/4 is to be educated on extremism on a collapsed timetable morning in December 2015 which will be followed up later in the year with a parent workshop. Prevent information has been circulated to the parents and is available on the school website.
At our school we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views. Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At our school, such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously and dealt with on an individual basis.