The Department for Education has 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 in 2014. At Whitelands Park Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Children are listened to and are taught to listen carefully to others. Children are taught to respect the right of individuals to have their voices and opinions heard. Each class develops their own class rules charter and sign it to ensure ownership and cooperation. The views of children are heard through our school council and questionnaires. The school council meet regularly and discuss issues raised in class or as a whole school. Every year each class votes for two school council members. Children will often be given opportunities to make decisions about things that affect them in school such as equipment they want purchased at playtime.
The 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 and behaviour expectations are reinforced through class and school assemblies. Pupils are taught from an early age the value of the school rules. Children are taught the value and the reason behind the rules and the laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibility this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police, Fire Service etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Children are expected to take responsibility for their own actions and to understand the consequence their actions might have. Children are actively encouraged to make the right choices. We educate and provide boundaries for children to enable them to make informed choices, through a safe and supportive environment. The understanding of rights and responsibilities are promoted through the teaching of PSHE and e-safety. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely; for example through e-Safety and PSHE lessons. Within the school community all pupils are given the freedom to make choices. This may be about the way they wish to present their work, involvement in home learning projects, choices about clubs and activities they wish to engage in. Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.
Mutual respect is a core value at Whitelands Park Primary School. Through discussion in class and whole school assemblies children learn what this means and that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. Additional support is provided for individual pupils, through our Emotional Literacy Support trained staff as well as our Family Support Worker. This support helps to develop self-esteem and to practise strategies pupils can employ to help improve their respect of others. All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect.
Tolerance & Understanding of Those of Different Faiths & Beliefs
The school recognises its role in preparing children for life in modern Britain. This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by providing opportunities to experience such diversity. Through assemblies, class discussions, RE and personal and social education we reinforce messages of tolerance and respect. We wish to develop members of different faiths or religions being encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. We wish to develop the active promotion of celebrations of different faiths and cultures.
Staff regularly review the curriculum to ensure that it promotes the areas above. It also ensures that pupils are taught about key events and figures in history. Events during the year celebrate culturally diverse occasions and memorable events taking place in the country. At Whitelands Park Primary School we will actively challenge children, staff or parents who express opinions that are contrary to fundamental British values including extremist views. The following is not designed to be exhaustive, but provides a list of different actions that schools can take, such as:
Developing the skill base required to access and share information, make/express decisions and apply themselves to society and the world. These include the understanding and use of money, effective writing and reading skills, collaborative work, to discuss and research ideas and concepts, and gain a broad and balanced understanding of the society in which they live. Aspects of study beyond core skills include historical and geographical context of the United Kingdom, incorporating local and national evolution, as well as international comparisons. We teach children about the similarities and differences of ways of life within the UK and beyond.
Daily Acts of Collective Worship
The sharing of stories, images, events, music and expectations that, with clarity and precision, promote the values expressed. Such proceedings vary in the methodology of delivery in order to secure interest and understanding and are designed to impact on children regardless of knowledge, experience or cognitive maturity. We recognise that those attending our school may have a wide range of faiths, or none.
There are many examples of ‘rule of law’ within RE. Children are encouraged to think about the laws, commandments, expectations within a faith and how those rules would impact on their own lives as well as on the lives of the people within those religions. Children are enabled to understand the origins of the various codes of conduct, rules, laws and expectations put forward by different religions and belief positions, and to consider their own position in relation to these. RE promotes the idea that individuals have freedom to choose what they believe. Woven into every enquiry is the idea that not everyone is the same. A class cannot investigate the behaviour of ‘all Muslims’ or ‘all Christians’, because not everyone within a faith will practise it in the same way.
Respect, tolerance and democracy stand at the very heart of every classroom. Every lesson is a chance to demonstrate them. Teachers have opportunity to model respect, tolerance and democracy within the classroom, allowing all children the opportunity to speak, using class voting systems and debate and using trips and visitors to bring the subject to life.
Using the enquiry method means that children are discussing issues in RE that some adults would find uncomfortable. Through learning about faith practices and really investigating what they mean for the individuals, children are encouraged to develop mutual respect and tolerance but also to develop critical thinking skills enabling them to question and discuss beliefs and the ways they might be manifested. They are also enabled, through their knowledge, to challenge ideas about religion and spot intolerance when they see it amongst their community and in the media.
Promotion of the concept of ‘fair play’, following and developing rules, inclusion, celebrating and rewarding success, being magnanimous in defeat and participation in activities that promote kinship and affiliation with others: there are opportunities for all pupils throughout their time in school, to participate in competitions and events which promote these values. All pupils participate in a range of physical and athletic activities within sports days. These take place within the school grounds and at other school facilities.