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 Abel Smith these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is rife within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council and Pupil questionnaires. The elections of School Councillors is based solely on pupil votes. Our school behaviour policy involves rewards which the pupils vote on as a class group.
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 regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. At the start of the academic year, each class discusses their code of conduct. Each year group then presents their most important discussion point to a whole school assembly, where a whole school code of conduct is drawn up. This is presented in the hall for the whole school to see, and is referred to and adhered to. 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. Visits to and from authorities such as the Fire Service are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
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 of provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-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 or which school meals they opt for each day, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘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.
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 have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.