Promoting British Values at Gwladys Street.
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 this year (2014). How well a school promotes such values is now an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Social and PSHE sessions.
The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries, for example.
At Gwladys Street, we promote a set of ‘values’ which we believe will support the children to develop and demonstrate the skills and attitudes that will enable them to develop spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, leading to being able to contribute fully to modern life. The values guide our behaviour, helping us to make the right choices. They enable us to live and work happily together. These values are:
Golden Opportunities for Achievement and Learning.
These are then supplemented by our further values:
TEAM: trust, listen and respect, enjoy every day, achieve and believe in ourselves and make everyone feel safe and welcome.
Our values fulfil requirements for the British values, namely:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual tolerance and respect of those with different faiths and beliefs.
All staff, including Support Staff, are involved in developing these values with the children. They are evident in the way that children and adults interact throughout the school, in accordance with many other existing qualities and values.
Being Part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritage of everybody at Gwladys Street. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival and Diwali during the Autumn term.
Children also learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Our topics ensure that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
- its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
- how ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and ‘the United Kingdom’.
- where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Our children learn our island’s story – and where our freedom and things like our Parliament and constitutional monarchy came from.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Gwladys Street Primary School. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes.
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
Rules and Laws
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 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 what 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.
Mutual Tolerance and Respect of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
At Gwladys Street we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect is at the heart of our learning.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Gwladys Street enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example
- enjoying a depth of study during a themed week or day, where we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the word (whilst at other times we might consider groups or individuals who might be vulnerable in some way, such as those with mental health issues).