Promoting British Values at St Mary’s School
The DfE have recently 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 St Mary’s, British Values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, RE, Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Education experiences, and PHSE sessions.
An understanding of democracy is developed through our School Council. Following a vote, each class elects a council representative. School Council meets every other week to bring to the table any issues or ideas from their Class. In addition, they are consulted about their ideas for school improvement and school policy making.
At St Mary’s, we promote a set of ‘values’ which we believe will support the children to develop and demonstrate the skills and attitudes that will enable them to develop spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, leading them to being able to contribute fully to modern life. The values guide our behaviour, helping us to make the right choices. They enable us to live and work happily together.
Our values fulfil requirements for the British values highlighted in the new Ofsted inspection framework (Sept. 2014), namely:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual tolerance and respect of those with different faiths and beliefs.
All staff are involved in developing these values with the children and are the termly focus of our worship. They are evident in the way that children and adults interact throughout the school, in accordance with many other existing qualities and values.
- Children at St Mary’s play an increasing role in school leadership.
- Offering their opinions within the forums of Class and School Council discussions every child has a voice that can be heard and that is listened to.
- Play Leaders are trained to lead the organisation of playground games and to look after equipment.
- Buddies look after the reception children both in school and on the playground.
- Pupil voice is valued in curriculum monitoring when the Governors, Headteacher and subject leaders canvas opinion on the effectiveness of our curriculum, whether it has inspired and been enjoyed and how we can improve it.
- Pupil voice is a key component of pupil progress conferences three times a year
- Teamwork is modelled by staff and constantly and consistently encouraged in the children. Every member is of equal importance, whatever their contribution; every voice is heard; and every opinion valued, even when it is not agreed with!
- Our Behaviour Policy proactively rewards considerate and collaborate action – whether in class, on the playground or around the school.
- We endeavour to instil in every child the knowledge that however small they are, they have the ability to make a difference – and they DO!
- Issues of democracy in the world beyond school are focused upon in an age-appropriate manner and parallels are drawn with life in school.
Rule of Law
- In school our rules are very simple, and focus on Christian values
- Alongside those values the importance of ‘laws’ to govern the class, school or country are upheld as important reinforced daily in the general running of the school as well as in behaviour management
- The values and reasons behind the laws, as well as the ways in which they govern and protect us, are made apparent.
- Each class democratically decides their class rules, against which behaviour in class is judged.
- Visits from people in authority reinforce the need for rules e.g. PCSO, Fire service and School Governors.
- Within school children are actively encouraged to make choices, whilst knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.
- Making the right choices and being forgiven and enabled to try again, when they make the wrong ones, underpins our behaviour management strategies.
- Within set boundaries children are educated to make choices safely, through the provision an empowering education offering extensive opportunities.
- Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely e.g. through e-safety, PSHCE and SMSC.
- Whether it be through choice of level of challenge; of how to record an answer; of who to work/play with; of what to have for lunch; or which of our extra-curricular opportunities to take part in, the children are encouraged and given the freedom to make a choice and supported in living with it.
- In this way, it is our aim that our children will be able to evaluate the society in which they live and to make the informed, independent choices of good citizens.
- Thinking skills are highly valued at St Mary’s and taught in a range of ways including a visual-logo approach.
- Mutual respect is one of the core Christian values that underpin every aspect of life in our school.
- All staff treat each other and the children in our care with respect. Raised voices are very rarely heard.
- We endeavour to respect and value one another’s person, property and opinions – even and especially when it is different to our own.
- Respect underpins every aspect of our classroom and school rules, as well as our Behaviour policy.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
- Although as a school we have a lower than average number of minority groups represented, we fully appreciate the importance of enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and giving them opportunities to experience that diversity.
- We recognise that all humanity was created by God and is loved by Him. We should therefore love our fellow man and be tolerant of those different to ourselves.
- Collective Worship, our programme of Values Education and PSHE work emphasise tolerance and proactively and successfully educate against any form of prejudice or prejudice-based bullying, about which we are constantly vigilant.
- Representatives of different faiths and religions visit our school and share their experience in open and respectful discussion that enhances both knowledge and understanding.
- Educational visits to our own and contrasting places of worship are actively encouraged whether in person or through interactive online links.
- Resource collections –books, DVDs and artefacts –are kept for the six major religions practised in Britain.
- St Mary’s has a link with a school in Malawi.
- The school is fully compliant with the expectations of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) set out in clause 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and Governors review progress against our Equality Action Plan annually.