The Department for Education have recently said:
“Keeping our children safe and ensuring schools prepare them for life in modern Britain could not be more important. This change is an important step towards ensuring we have a strong legal basis for intervening in those schools where this is an issue.”
“The vast majority of schools already promote British values. This is about making sure we have the tools we need to intervene if children are being let down.”
Schools are required to actively promote and not undermine “British Values”
The government has set out its definition of British Values as:
Each year the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues. The council recommends to the head areas of development. It is able to genuinely effect change within the school. Each council member for each class is voted in by their class. The school also has a Health and Safety Council with two representatives from each class. These children are elected by their classmates and join the head and Health and Safety governor on walkabouts around the school on a termly basis. We also have an Eco-Council who organize events to raise the profile of green issues around the school. The school also has an E-safety council who meet the Head, e-safety coordinator and e-safety governor on a termly basis to discuss any issues which have arisen.
Children also have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school.
the rule of law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young 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 PSHE lessons. Whether it is through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. We have a ‘Respect Tree’ outside the school hall and each week a leaf from each class is added to the tree. Each leaf has the name of a child on with an example of how they have shown respect over the past week. We also have a ‘Respect Week’ each year where a different theme is focused on across the school each day of the week.
tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Northleaze is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse; therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. We value the diverse ethnic backgrounds of all people and undertake a variety of events and lessons to celebrate these. We have found this approach to be enriching for all parties as it teaches tolerance and respect for the differences in our community and the wider world. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths. Every two years a ‘Multifaith Week’ is organized where children visit places of worship for different religions in Bristol.
As a Church of England Primary School we actively promote values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupil’s character and moral perspective, through the teaching in school, the example all adults set and the teaching of the Church. We are confident that our continued focus on the school’s values and discussed every year in each class, will give our pupils the necessary awareness of what it means to be a good citizen in Britain today, and embed in them the building blocks of a future successful and productive life.
Through our RE, PSHE/Citizenship and Geography themes we are able to make real links between the values of our pupils and the lives of others in their community, country and the world in general. We use a web-based programme called ‘Go-givers’ to develop pupils’ understanding of citizenship. The programme aims to help children become responsible citizens who :
are well-prepared for life and work
are able to work cooperatively with others
respect others and act with integrity
understand their own and others’ cultures and traditions, within the context of British heritage, and have a strong sense of their own place in the world
appreciate the benefits of diversity
challenge injustice, are committed to human rights and strive to live peaceably with others
sustain and improve the environment, locally and globally
take account of the needs of present and future generations in the choices they make