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 guidance can be read in full by clicking here.
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated this year (2014). At The Meadows, our motto: “Learning by Caring and Sharing” fosters the development of our children into tolerant citizens of the future. The British values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights and responsibilities 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 to discuss issues raised by the children themselves. Two council members for each year group are voted in by their class.
Children regularly take part in pupil voice surveys where they are able to put forward their views about 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. 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 Rule of Law
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 and sets its own Class Charter, a set of 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:
• visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
• during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
• during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example
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 and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
• choices about their learning challenge or activity
• choices about how they record their learning
• choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
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 e-safety and PSHE lessons.
As a Rights Respecting School, mutual 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. This is documented in the Home School Agreement.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
The Meadows is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse; therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. 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 explicit Diversity PSHE teaching, reinforces this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
At The Meadows we will actively challenge pupils, staff, governors or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Should you feel that the school is not meeting this requirement, you should contact the school office and request to express your concerns with the Headteacher. Likewise, if you feel that anyone working at the school is, intentionally or otherwise undermining these values, you should report this to the Headteacher.
For more information regarding British values at The Meadows, follow this link.