The Department for Education 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. St Mark’s Church of England (Aided) Primary School reflects British Values in all that we do. These values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
At St. Mark’s CE(A) Primary School, we actively promote British values in the following ways:
Democracy is taken seriously. Children are actively encouraged to have a voice and share their views and opinions regularly. Our active school council is one such example. Every September we hold a secret ballot to elect representatives from each class. The school council representatives meet every two weeks and take the ideas from the meeting back to their classes for discussion.
Every child also contributes their ideas to the composition of their own class rules every year, setting ground rules for classroom conduct and establishing the standards of behaviour children can expect from each other over the year ahead. All children are encouraged to debate topics of interest, express their views, take into account the views of others and make a meaningful contribution to the running of the school on matters that directly involve pupils. Children also have the opportunity to have their voices heard through pupil questionnaires and pupil surveys. The principle of democracy is explored in the curriculum as well as during Collective Worship and special days. Our Year 6 children take part in Local Democracy Week which is an initiative organised by Stoke on Trent City Council.
Other opportunities are taken to promote the democratic process. For example during a local event (Stoke Reads), children voted for their favourite books. Teachers campaigned for their own favourites and an election was held with polling booths and ballot boxes.
RULE OF LAW
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Children 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. Our school rules, rewards and sanctions which are displayed in all classrooms, referred to regularly and consistently upheld are a practical example of this.
Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message. During Religious Education lessons, children learn about Rules and Codes of Living in the religions studied and the importance of The Golden Rule for both religious and non-religious people. This allows them the opportunity to discuss the importance of this value.
Within school, children are actively encouraged to make decisions and choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young children to take risks and make choices safely. Children 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. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, how they record their learning, participation in one of our extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, children are given the freedom to make choices and make decisions.Vulnerable pupils are protected and stereotypes challenged. A strong anti-bullying culture is embedded in the school and any form of bullying is challenged and addressed. The school also operates a robust system of logging incidents. Children have key roles and responsibilities in school e.g. Librarians, house point monitors, collective worship monitors, attendance monitors, school council and prefects. Children learn about individuals who have made a contribution to society and individual liberty eg. Martin Luther King, Ghandi, in Religious Education.
MUTUAL RESPECT AND TOLERANCE OF THOSE WITH DIFFERENT FAITHS AND BELIEFS
As a Church of England School which serves a diverse community, 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 are expected treat each other with respect. Collective Worship is regularly planned to promote respect and tolerance either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this. The children explore the world faiths of Islam and Judaism alongside their learning about Christianity. Each year the school participates in Interfaith Week which provides opportunities for children to learn about belief and faith in a wider variety of contexts. The school marks significant dates in the calendar with events, assemblies and displays to raise awareness e.g. Black History month, Refugee week. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within Collective Worship and by contributing to lessons. St. Mark’s has a room set aside for prayer and reflection, the ‘Rainbow Room’. All classrooms have reflection areas. Each year, ‘Reveal Theatre Company’, work on a project with our year six children which focuses on challenging stereotypes or misconceptions and developing co-operation.
Children are encouraged to adopt and live out our Core Values. These complement the key “British Values” of tolerance, respect, understanding, compassion and harmonious living.