The DfE have 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.
The Rule of Law
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
At St James, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is an integral part of our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council, wide range of leadership groups and pupil questionnaires. The elections of the School Council and other pupil leadership groups are based solely on the democratic process, with children writing personal profiles, giving speeches followed by elections. During election years, children in Y6 carry out a ‘mock election’, with prospective candidates writing manifestos, campaigning and KS2 voting for their chosen candidate. Some of our policies and practices are debated widely and incorporate pupil voice as children, parents, governors and staff work together to put policy into practice for example, our Behaviour Policy based on restorative practice with a tailored 'Good to be Green' approach involved the children in generating rules, sanctions and rewards in our school.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced through lessons, assemblies and our daily practice in school. Pupils are taught the value of and reasons for the rules and laws we have in school and more widely. They understand that rules and laws are here to govern us and to keep us safe. They accept that there may be consequences when rules and laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service are regular parts of our school calendar and help reinforce this message. Our school actively promotes the UN Charter of the Child.
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 safety, through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and we advise how to exercise these safely, for example, through our Online Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices and to respect the decisions and choices of others. Upper Key Stage 2 pupils also undertake Sex Education lessons – discussing issues such as puberty, emotional and hormonal changes and keeping ourselves clean.
Our whole school ethos is firmly rooted in respectful relationships – child to child, adult to child, child to adult and adult to adult. We vigorously challenge those, including parents/carers and members of the wider community, who fail to demonstrate respect. We undertake regular assemblies and discussions relating to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school promote respect and positive behaviour for others and this is reiterated through our school rules, as well as our Behaviour Policy. Pupils will challenge each other when respect isn't shown and they actively encourage each other to be respectful. They will work particularly hard to support new members of the school to understand and follow our expectations.
Tolerance of those 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 are provided and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Children and family members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. This has also included family members coming in to talk to the children. Through our RE curriculum, which teaches the main faiths and focuses upon learning about religion and learning from religion, we promote tolerance of the beliefs of others. We have strong links with our local Vicar who holds monthly whole-school assemblies. Visits from different faiths and trips to different places of worship are a priority of the school.
At St James Primary School we will actively challenge children, staff or parents who express opinions that are contrary to fundamental British Values including extremist views.