The Department of Education has published guidance on promoting British values in schools to ensure that young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.
The guidance aims to help schools to understand their responsibilities in this area. All have a duty to 'actively 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. These values were first set out by the govenrment in the 'Prevent' strategy in 2011.
What are defined as the 'Basic British Values'?
These are sumarised by the DfE as:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs
The aim is to ensure that all pupils understand the importance of respect and leave school fully prepared for life in modern Britain
Isn't this a part of the everyday life of the school?
Yes, we are convinced that it is. Our core Mission Statement, which includes our values and vision, includes many aspects of 'Basic British Values'.
How do we approach the development of knowledge of democracy?
There are many opportunities to allow pupils to understand how citizens can influence decision making through the democratic process. Elections are a part of school life. Pupils are aware of elections for Parent Governors. The School Council is elected each year in September. The council has access to a small budget but is also required to evaluate their suggestions following the guidance of Best Value and Health and Safety.
In order to develop knowledge of the national picture on democracy we aim to hold an 'election' in school on the same day as the General Election. This will be a regular occurance (it will coincide with EU elections and Local Council elections). The selected candidate, following a process of canvassing and live debate, will spend a day 'advising' the headteacher who will share information about the running of the school and discuss ideas given to the elected representative by the School Council.
How do we approach the development of knowledge of the rule of law?
Our children develop an awareness of the countries around them. By the end of Year 5 they are very familiar with the countries of Europe and their geographic positions. Opportunities are taken to develop their knowledge of the way in which twentieth century history has shaped the political map.
Children are shown news bulletins which highlight worldwide developments. These are discussed in terms of
What (is happening)
Where is it happening (geography)
Why is it happening (the rule of law and how it varies across the world)
Knowledge of the application of the rule of law in other parts of the world allows suitable reflection upon the rule of law in the UK.
School rules are used as an example of the way in which the rule of law allows a society to function fairly and safely. The pupils are fully aware that there is a need for these rules to be enforced to ensure the safety of all pupils. Children learn to understand that the choices which they make impact upon the rights of others.
How do we approach the development of knowledge of individual liberty?
Pupils are encourage to understand that whilst there is the rule of law in most societies this is not intended to suppress all individuality. There is scope for individual expession and this should be celebrated as long as it is within the boundaries set by the rules.
Responsible choice is a key element of individual liberty and is embedded within the school. There is a wide range of activities each term encompassed within the Extended School package and pupils can make their own decision upon which activities they wish to take up. Our annual Residential Trip allows a chance for pupils to represent the school and make choices, taking responsibility for their rooms and their actions.
How do we approach the development of knowledge of mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs?
Our RE Scheme of Work covers all main religions and highlights the presence of communities with each belief within the UK. We are a very active school in developing the International Dimension (please refer to our International Pages). We have links with schools in which there are many pupils of different faiths and beliefs. These schools are within the UK and beyond. Some of the schools have their own dedicated space in school for display and our pupils exchange messages with pupils at these schools. Video conferencing also opens opportunities. The way in which the international dimension is reflected in a multicultural Britain is also celebrated.
Assemblies are a key vehicle for the discussion of themes relating to this aspect of school life. The core values, included in our Mission Statement, are revisited on a regular basis and are woven into the programme of themes for the year.
We take all opportunities to bring in visitors who represent different cultures. These have included Comenius Assistants on long term placements and visitors developing knowledge of other languages. This has included a Language Empathy Awareness Day featuring work on an awarenes of the breadth of languages spoken within the uk (run by the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Education Team).
We make contact with schools in other countries and other parts of the UK and, where possible, vdeo conference with these. This allows our pupils to become more aware of the great diversity of the world and of our country - and also of the hiuge similarities.
Inter school sporting events encourage pupils to do their best for our own school whilst relating positively and showing warm friendship to those from other schools.
Do all stakeholders espouse these British Values?
We feel that the values described would be aspired to in most schools wherever they may be located in the world. All stakeholders, including pupils, staff, governors and visitors, will be expected to promote these values. Adults are instructed that personal beliefs should not be presented in a way that might influence others. Any variation from these values will be challenged and guidance given.
Does the school celebrate any special British occasions or events?
Many are outlined in our assembly programme each year.The school flagpole features at least one British flag per week and there might be no specific reason.