Promoting and Teaching British Values at St Mary’s Junior School
The DFE have made explicit the duty of schools ‘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 definitions of British values in the 2011 prevent Strategy and these values have again been reflected by the Prime Minister and the DFE in the following document in 2014.
The main points of this advice are to make clear:
- that maintained schools should promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development;
- what is expected of schools in promoting fundamental British values; and
- how this aligns with schools’ duty to promote SMSC
At St Mary’s Junior School, these values are reinforced frequently throughout our curriculum in the following ways.
Democracy is embedded into the ethos and values at St Mary’s. The school has a long standing and very active Pupil Parliament, which includes:
The annual election through classroom votes of Parliament leaders, to the Pupil Parliament body.
Children assume the roles of Ministerial Committee Leads at various points. On behalf of the views of the children across the school, the Pupil Parliament influences eg designs and purchases of new resources or play equipment, organises Charity Fundraising and maintains the profile of the school within community events. The Parliament have proved very adept at reporting their achievements within their year groups and through school assemblies.
Children routinely respond to questionnaires about learning and the principles of democracy are also taught through the curriculum, including English, History and SMSC/PSHCE.
The Rule of Law:
As a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, the importance of laws as a mechanism for being fair, equitable and keeping everyone safe is constantly reinforced through the annual establishment of Class Codes of conduct; daily expectations of appropriate behaviour and conforming to rules, and throughout school assemblies. Children are taught the value of laws and the personal responsibilities this involves; and the consequences when laws are not adhered to, including through reference to Class Codes of Conduct rights and responsibilities and to the Positive Behaviour Policy reference to rights and responsibilities.
Children are actively taught about the rule of law through working with community members eg local Church representatives in the community or through PCSO Anti-social Behaviour, Anti-Bullying and E Safety lessons.
At St Mary’s, children are encouraged to make choices knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. We provide boundaries for children to experience making safe choices. Through our PSHCE and RSE curriculum, children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their personal freedoms and choices. Children frequently make learning choices across the curriculum and in a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities the school offers.
Our school ethos and core values are underpinned by our school values, aims and vision statement: To foster a culture of respect and compassion where children are confident to take risks, persevere and embrace challenges. We strive to provide dynamic learning without limits to give children the wisdom, skills and knowledge they need to aim high and achieve their aspirations.
Our school Christian Values teach our children mutual respect and consideration for others and are taught within assemblies and through the curriculum, in addition to be modelled in the relationships within the school. Mutual respect is also promoted through the role of Lunchtime Play leaders, who work with children St Mary’s Infants School each lunchtime.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
St Mary’s Junior School recognises our diverse society and upholds the right of all community members to uphold faiths, beliefs and to practice their religion within a framework of reciprocal tolerance and respect. Our core values promote children acting with social awareness and acknowledges the rights of others to hold views. Our RE curriculum teaches about the faiths and beliefs of others.
A St Mary’s, our PSHCE programme of Study provides a strong foundation for children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural education (SMSC) and development. Linked to British values, this focuses on teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults.
Our curriculum areas, including English text materials, RE, music, history and geography all offer opportunities to promote the understanding of beliefs and values of other faiths. We routinely hold Languages Weeks or Art Weeks, where cultural diversity is celebrated and we provide the opportunity for a wide variety of extra-curricular clubs to promote other languages. We also have twin links with a school in France, providing the children with the opportunity to converse with French speaking children via Skype Links and through written correspondence and ‘pen-pal’ pairings.
Class assemblies often provide the opportunity to children to be kept up to date with what is happening around the world, whether that be politics and politicians, environmental issues, weather events, advances in science and technology or around ‘the arts’ and popular culture.