Promoting British values at Ss Alban & Stephen Catholic Junior School
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.
Our school ethos promotes the fundamental British values. The staff models the values through their own behaviour and teaches the values implicitly through every aspect of the curriculum ensuring equity and excellence for all pupils.
Our governing body ensures that this ethos is reflected and implemented effectively in school policy and practice and that there are effective risk assessments in place to safeguard and promote students’ welfare. At Ss Alban & Stephen Catholic Junior School British values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is integral to the school; Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council, Eco School Team, and Chaplaincy Team and Pupil questionnaires. The election for School Council and Eco School Team members is based solely on pupil votes. Children regularly debate issues, which promotes critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork. We realise the importance of debate, as it teaches skills necessary in school and for the future in the workplace, so that children can make informed judgments about crucial issues fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies. We initiate the importance of debate and critical thinking through the weekly BIG QUESTION in the school newsletter. Teaching ensures that pupils are equipped with the skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments. Our school behaviour policy involves rewards which the pupils vote on as a class group (marble jar treat) and pupils choose activities for the half-termly ‘house points’ a reward for consistently good behaviour, making academic progress and demonstrating a positive attitude.
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 assemblies. Children develop a personal code of behaviour i.e. telling the truth, being honest, having respect for justice. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us; the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when the laws are broken. Visits from the authorities such as the Police are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message. Our Year 3 pupils take part in Hazard Alley workshops, deepening their experiences and understanding.
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 safely, through the 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 challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. Ss Alban & Stephen Catholic Junior School seeks to provide opportunities for pupils to become positive and emotionally resilient with the knowledge and confidence to stand by their own convictions, whilst also respecting others.
Part of our school ethos, mission statement and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as “Respect”, “Compassion”, “Love for one another” and “Community”. Children show respect for our environment and for the feelings, wishes and rights of ourselves and of others. Pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Each classroom displays it’s classroom rules promoting respect for each other. Pupil Peer Mediators support other pupils with respect and consideration.
Tolerance of those of Different Faith and Beliefs
Central to the school ethos is to ‘love one another as I have loved you’. This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Our Chaplaincy team seeks to support and promote the gospel values of respect and care of one another. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice- based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. We value the diverse ethnic backgrounds of all pupils and families and undertake a variety of events and lessons to celebrate these, including an annual European language day and One World Week. We have found this approach to be enriching for all parties as it teaches tolerance and respect for the differences in our community and the wider world. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school as part of our R.E. curriculum.
Upon leaving Ss Alban & Stephen Catholic Junior School, pupils will understand their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies and have an awareness of how by they can maintain the underpinning core British values whilst maintaining an awareness and respect for the culturally diverse society in which they live.
School Council visit to the Palace of Westminster – March 2017
The School Council visited the Palace of Westminster as part of their role in developing a better understanding of British Values. They learnt a great deal about the history of the building and visited both chambers. They were very fortunate to watch both houses beating two very important bills. They even had their own debate in the new education centre about whether it was ever right to break the rules to improve the quality of people’s existence for the better. The children gave some excellent answers that were well informed and explained their point of views very clearly. Thank you for being such a good group of ambassadors for our school.