The Department for Education (DfE) states that: All [schools] 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 government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011.
Ofsted and the independent inspectorates now take the work of schools in this area into account during inspections.
In addition, guidance was published by the DfE in November 2014 and states that as part of spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) provision, schools should:
- enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
- encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
- enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
- further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
- encourage respect for other people; and
- encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
The guidance also gives specific examples of the understanding and knowledge that is expected of students:
- an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;
- an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their well-being and safety;
- an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;
- an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
- an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; and
- an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.
The school supports and delivers a firm commitment to developing and upholding British Values.
The children are taught about British values in a variety of ways, including in assemblies and in subject specific content about the importance of democracy. We provide opportunities to be involved in democracy in action, for example, through the election of School Councillors. Each class has two elected members that sit on the council; they meet bi-weekly to discuss school improvement. Recent initiatives have included improving playtimes, making the school more environmentally friendly and setting up a healthy tuck-shop (run by the children).
The children have had opportunities to be involved in debating, including our Year 5&6 pupils who take part in ‘Forum’ (weekly debates) during the summer term.
Our pupils are actively involved in the interviewing process when new appointments are made in school. They play a big role in supporting charities, with each class selecting a charity and then choosing and planning the activities that they do to raise money. We have a Parent Forum which allows us to plan and share school development priorities as a community.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws whether they govern the class, the school or the country are consistently reinforced throughout all aspects of school life. Pupils and parents are taught the value and reasons behind our rules, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. We have regular talks from the Community Police Office team to pupils on the rule of law. PC Matt Holt has visited all of our classes and regular supports pupils and their families.
Promotion of the concept of ‘fair play’, following and developing rules, celebrating and rewarding success, accepting defeat and participating in activities that promote co-operation with others and inclusion for all, form an integral part of the curriculum, particularly in subjects such as Physical Education (PE) and Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE).
Pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. We educate and provide boundaries for 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 circle time sessions. Whether it is through choice of tasks in lessons, of participation in enrichment activities or the selection of their class charity, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Respect, openness and honesty are part of our core values. This can be seen and felt in our pervading ethos in school. The children know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have.
We run a highly successful ‘Buddying’ and ‘Play Leader’ scheme. Pupils from Year 6 are ‘buddied’ with new Reception children. Buddies learn together, play together and even eat together. Play Leaders are Key Stage 2 pupils who lead playtime games with the younger pupils.
Our RE, PSHE, assemblies and class teaching reinforce tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes. We work very closely with our local church, including developing an RE curriculum that serves the local community and develops an understanding of different faiths and beliefs. Recently, Reverend Louis Wilson delivered a series of assemblies on British Values.
A cross-curricular approach
We deliver a cross curricular approach to the delivery of spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development, including British values:
- via current affairs – discussion sessions in class assembly time centred on a topic in the news such as extremism;
- via assemblies – on a theme that links to British Values, for example, Human Rights and Freedom;
- via Personal Social and Health Education lessons;
- via student leadership – actively voting in school/class elections to elect posts of responsibility;
- via Religious Education – exploring beliefs and values of a range of faiths, including multicultural celebrations;
- in subjects where we map how other subjects deliver knowledge and understanding of key concepts that link to British Values.