Promoting British Values at Stead Lane Primary School
In June 2014, Michael Gove set out plans for all schoolchildren to be taught ‘British values’. The then Education Secretary announced that from September 2014, England’s 20,000 primary and secondary schools would be required to actively promote tolerance, fairness, respect for other faiths, and the rule of law and democracy.
At Stead Lane Primary School we promote ‘British Values’ through our spiritual, moral, social and cultural education which permeates through the school’s curriculum and supports the development of the ‘whole child’. We recognise that such development is most successful when those values and attitudes are promoted by all the staff who provide a model of behaviour for our pupils.
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 have been reiterated by the Prime Minister this year. At Stead Lane these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
The ability to communicate is the most important area of learning. At Stead Lane we ensure that pupils are given a ‘voice’ to communicate. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council and Pupil questionnaires. The elections of House and Vice Captains, as well as prefects are based solely on pupil votes. Our school behaviour policy involves rewards which the pupils voted on. We empower our pupils by giving them opportunities to make choices about the things that they believe to be important. By valuing each ‘voice’ and by listening and responding to that voice we demonstrate that we support democracy and liberty.
The Rule of Law
The importance of rules, whether they be those that govern the class or the school, or the laws that govern the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. We involve pupils in setting codes of behaviour and help pupils to make decisions and choices that are acceptable to the school community and society at large. Pupils are helped to learn to manage their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions. Staff are committed to providing a consistent and predicable environment within the school and beyond. We help pupils to understand the connection between actions and consequences. This type of environment enables pupils to feel safe and secure; this in turn, promotes the optimum conditions for learning to take place. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Pupils at Stead Lane are encouraged to become good and valued citizens. We do this by supporting each pupil to become as independent as possible. 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. E-Safety and PSHE lessons support us in this aim. Pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for personal belongings and roles in school and are taught that with certain rights comes a level of responsibility. Learning to do things independently is an important part of learning to understand yourself. We support others by participating in charitable events such as Red Nose Day/Comic Relief, Children in Need and the MacMillan Coffee Morning. At Stead Lane Primary School we believe that engendering a caring and helpful environment and learning to be independent boosts and nurtures a healthy self-esteem.
Our school ethos and behaviour policy are based around our core value of ‘Respect’ and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy. Events are planned throughout the year for pupils to go into the community to meet with a range of people in a variety of situations which include: sports events, community events and shared participation with other schools.
Tolerance of Different Faiths and Beliefs
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Cultural appreciation and development forms part of our curriculum. We place great emphasis on providing encounters and participation in events and celebrations to broaden all pupils’ experiences and awareness of others. Our Assemblies help all pupils to find out about themselves and others linking their lives to the communities in which they belong. The themes cover areas such as: friendships, helping others and celebrations from a range of faiths and world events.
On a more general level, the school undertakes assemblies which uphold traditional values of empathy, respect and tolerance. These are also taught within PSHE and RE lessons and on an informal nature throughout the school days. Through the RE curriculum all pupils learn in detail about key faiths and through this learning they are taught to show respect for those faiths.
In following the new History curriculum pupils are taught about significant periods in British History and are encouraged to identify these in chronological order.