How we promote ‘British Values’ at Taverham VC CE Junior School
As a Church of England school, we see it as our duty to give children and members of the school community the skills to maximise their engagement with the world around them, enable them to grow spiritually, emotionally and personally, and develop the character and values which will serve them well in future life and support success.
The DfE (Department for Education) state that there is a 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 by the Prime Minister in 2014. The 2015 OFSTED framework states that ‘Inspectors will make a judgement on the effectiveness of leadership and management by evaluating the extent to which leaders, managers and governors…..actively promote British values.’
The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world; they differ only slightly, if at all, from the values of most western European countries, for example.
As a Church of England School we have adopted the Church of England’s ‘Values for Life’ as our core values. These are shared through assemblies/collective worship, the curriculum, newsletters to parents and displays around the school and in classrooms. We believe that many of the ‘Values for Life’ incorporate ‘British values’.
At our school these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is embedded in the school. 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. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council, Eco council and through occasional survey/questionnaires. Pupils are also consulted on a regular basis as part of subject leaders’ monitoring. The elections of the School Council members are based solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. The Y6 curriculum features a full scale House of Commons-style debate on issues such as graffiti and new housing in Taverham. Year 5 conduct a ‘mock election’ as part of their curriculum work on democracy in Ancient Greece.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced regularly, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through assemblies/collective worship. Our 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. The police have visited the school to talk to the children about e-safety and have been present at the school’s summer barbecue; other authorities have visited the school as part of our Aspirations Week’.
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 our pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-safety and P.S.H.E. Our pupils are given the freedom to make choices: about their behaviour; of which challenge to tackle in a lesson; of how they record; whether to apply for a responsible role/job (e.g. Sports Leader, Digital Leader, Christmas dinner waiter or waitress); whether to participate in our numerous extra- curricular activities etc.
‘Pupils learn well how to be polite, they listen to their teachers and to each other. They are very accepting of each others’ differences.’ (OFSTED, November 2014). Our school ethos and behaviour policy is underpinned by the principle of respect and our ‘school expectations’ (rules) reflect this, as does the school’s Mission Statement. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. A key school aim is to help children become ‘caring, respectful and tolerant members of their community.’
Tolerance of Those With Different Faiths And Beliefs
As a Church of England School, we believe that all children, whether they have a faith or not and whatever their background or culture, are loved by God and are individually unique. Taverham VC Church of England Junior is not a faith school for Christians but a Christian school for all. We try to enhance pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society through the curriculum (e.g. Geography, PSHE) visitors to the school (e.g. Masaai warriors, Headteacher from Malawi) and assemblies/collective worship. This is particularly important because our school is situated in an area and a county that is not greatly culturally diverse. Members of different faiths or religions, and those who speak languages other than English, are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.