he government set out its definition of ‘British values’ in the ‘Prevent Strategy’ (2011), which was designed to prevent the extremism and religious radicalisation of young people. British values are considered by the government to be:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
British values are promoted in much of what we do during school assemblies, Religious Education, Philosophy and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) sessions.
These values are also integral to our own Federation vision and values. As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: We would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
The British values we espouse are not unique to Britain. We acknowledge that they differ in no way from the values of the many countries and the cultural backgrounds represented by the families of our Federation.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values. The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.
Being part of Britain
We value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody in our Federation. At the same time, we actively value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate national traditions and customs over the course of the year so that there is an annual Harvest collection to support the local community during the autumn term and participation in a pantomime in at Christmas. We also value and observe national events, for example holding a party and Great British Bake-Off to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday!
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives:
In Geography, children learn more about where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world. They also find out more about different parts of Britain, comparing and contrasting the towns, cities and villages. They also learn the difference between England, Britain and the United Kingdom.
In History, children investigate key periods in British history, learning how modern Britain has evolved as a result of specific events and individuals.
We value the voice of every child, parent and staff member across the Federation. Democracy is central to how we operate.
School Council allows pupil voice to be heard. Made up of a representative from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are actively taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard, through regular circle time sessions held as part of the PSHCE and RE curriculum. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress, sharing targets in each of the core lessons. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
Parents’ opinions are welcome and elicited through surveys at Parents’ Evenings, Parent Information Meetings and questionnaires on specific areas of school development.
Rules and Laws
The importance of rules and laws in any context, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices as part of our behaviour management policy. At the start of the school year, each class discusses the school rules and class routines, principles 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.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
- 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.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- choices about what learning challenge or activity
- choices about how they record their learning
- choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our PSHE lessons and in our weeks themed around online safety and anti-bullying.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Our Federation serves an area which is culturally diverse; we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Tolerance, politeness and mutual respect are at the heart of our aims and ethos.
Our school reflection reminds our children that, for our school to be a safe and happy place, we must live and work alongside people from all backgrounds and cultures. Our children know and understand that respect must be shown to everyone and to everything, whatever differences we may have. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are encouraged to treat each other with respect. Our participation in international movements, such as Black History Month, supports this teaching, allowing children to develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures; teaching in RE enhances our children’s understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs.
Whilst instances contrary to our values are relatively rare, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to these values. Each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.