The Department for Education emphasise the important role that British values can play in education and reinforce 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.”
At All Saints’, British Values are promoted in much of what we do, during school assemblies, through our provision for the development of SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural education), Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) sessions. We also teach the 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.
Being Part of Britain
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, etc. We also value and celebrate national events such as Royal celebrations, elections and other aspects of our British identity.
Celebration for the Coronation of King Charles
On the day before the Coronation, we held a picnic on our field with all of the children from Emscote Infants and the parents from both schools. The children came dressed in red, white and blue for the day; they carried out various related activities during the morning and at the end of the picnic, they sang a song which had been composed for the occasion. We were also very lucky that the weather held out for the picnic as heavy rain had been forecast. As always, it was very special being able to bring our school community together.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at All Saints’ 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 meet with the Executive Headteacher to discuss issues raised by class members.
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 each 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. Our curriculum has been designed to develop 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 regularly invited into school. Children have written directly to a range of politicians, members of the royal family and people in other prominent positions; they proudly share their responses in assemblies and on displays in school.
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:
o visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
o during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
o 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.
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 online safety and PSHE lessons. They also understand that with rights come responsibilities.
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 difference 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 online safety and Acceptable Use policy that is seen and signed by all stakeholders.
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
In All Saints’, 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 continue to 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:
o 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
o in English through fiction
o in art and music by considering cultures from other parts of the world
o our broader curriculum 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
o 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.
o 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.