The Department for Education has emphasised the important role that British values can play in education and 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 government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values were reiterated in 2014. At All Saints’ British values are promoted in much of what we do, during school assemblies and Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) sessions. We also teach British values through planning and delivering a broad and balanced curriculum. As a Church of England school the Christian values we promote are integral to our vision and ethos and underpin all of our work on British 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.
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.
As a school we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of the local community. Alongside this we value and celebrate living in, and being part of, Britain. In general terms this means that we celebrate traditions and customs in the course of the year, for example, Harvest Festival during the autumn term; Remembrance Day; our annual Christmas service; Easter, and so on. We also value and celebrate national events such as royal celebrations, elections and others such as the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.
The whole school took part in activities to mark 100 years since the end of World War 1. Workshops took place in the hall, led by a 'soldier' who explained what life was like in the trenches. Children produced some amazing writing and art-work in response to their learning.
As this year is the centurion year (100 years) since the end of WW1, we were lucky to have a workshop to teach us all about it. We learnt how it felt to be a soldier in the war and the difficult time they face from joining the army to being in the cold, horrible trenches. We were also lucky to look at some artefacts from the war and also had the opportunity to ask questions. The children had a brilliant time and learnt lots from this experience.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at All Saints’ CofE Junior School. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our structure of the School Council. Each class elects two class representatives, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. Interested children write their own speeches persuading others in their class to vote for them. Children are elected fairly and pupils are able to consider characteristics important for an elected representative. Pupils vote in secret. The school council regularly meets with the executive headteacher to discuss issues raised by class members.
Pupils voting for new house captains. Each candidate prepared a short speech with reasons why they would make the best house captain. All children in school were involved in voting for their own house captains.
Pupils have been actively involved in staff recruitment. Members of Aspire (our pupil enterprise club) work hard to raise money and regularly discuss how to spend its funds.
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.
The opinions of pupils and parents are gathered through questionnaires completed twice a year, and via surveys completed on specific issues such as school meals. There are also opportunities to comment on Parentview, via a link on our school website.
We actively teach children about their rights and responsibilities as British citizens, both on a national level and also a global level. Learning through the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) supports the development of national and global citizenship; this is underpinned by school assemblies that often look at issues surrounding human rights across the globe.
Pupils are encouraged to participate in campaigns such as the annual Send my Friend to School campaign. They exercise their democratic rights by writing to our local MP, who is invited into school on an annual basis to participate in our version of Questiontime.’ They have written directly to the Prime Minister and the Queen and proudly shared their responses in assemblies and on displays in school.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy are based around core values such as resilience (with a particular focus on developing “Growth Mindsets”), respect and responsibility, and these values determine how we live as a community at All Saints’. All members of the school community treat each other with respect irrespective of their race, faith, gender or disability.
Assemblies are based on “Values for Life” and are central to how we expect everyone to go about their life at our school. The assemblies celebrate differences and other cultures and help to build understanding of different people and their belief systems that may hold both similarities and differences to our own. Our values are highly visible around the school.
Children and adults alike are challenged if they are disrespectful in any way. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others.
Children are encouraged to show mutual respect for the natural world around them, especially with the support of our ECO council.
Children are taught about how to develop respectful relationships in a wide variety of ways including through our PSHE curriculum. We also promote mutual respect in the online world as set out in our E-safety and Acceptable Use policy that is seen and signed by all stakeholders.
Rules and Laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. 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
To encourage and promote good behaviour, attitude and work, we have devised a reward system which is consistently followed throughout the school. We are committed to praising children’s efforts. We endeavour to praise the children informally, individually, during group work, in front of the whole class and the whole school.
Children are rewarded not only for achievement in curriculum areas, but also for behaviour and general adherence to the school or class rules. Rewards are given in the form of stickers (including ones for “magic manners”) or certificates. The achievements of children (and staff) are recognised during our weekly achievement assemblies.
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 they will complete
- choices about which ideas they vote for in class council
- choice regarding the school lunch menu
- 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 e-safety and PSHE lessons. They also understand that with rights come responsibilities.
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
All Saints’ is an Outstanding Church of England school. We are proud to promote and celebrate different backgrounds and beliefs with our mission to be “inclusive of all faiths and none”. Tolerance, politeness and mutual respect are at the heart of our aims and ethos.
Our pupils are able to live and work alongside people from all backgrounds and cultures. This will be particularly necessary in a future where technological advances will make the “world a smaller place”.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone and to everything, whatever differences we may have. Specific examples of how we at All Saints’ enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons where we develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures including visiting places of worship that are important to different faiths
- in English through fiction
- in art and music by considering cultures from other parts of the world
- across the curriculum; we learn through the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) which promotes and engenders global citizenship, enabling children to learn about similarities and differences across the world. Pupils are provided with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view in English, history, geography, PSHE, digital literacy, etc
- we are proud of our well-established link with a school in Bo, Sierra Leone. This link is a mutually-beneficial international alliance that enables both staff and pupils from each school to learn about each other’s practises, cultures and values. This has included a staff exchange for a number of years. A Friends of Bo club has elected class representatives who meet weekly.
- celebrating cultural differences through assemblies, themed weeks, noticeboards and displays.
Whilst instances contrary to our values are relatively rare no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to our values. Each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.