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 St Matthew’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
The promotion of democracy is extensive within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council and pupil questionnaires. Children in each class vote for the children they want to represent them on school Council. Children in Key Stage Two vote for their House Captains and the Year 6 children have to give a short presentation about why they would make a good house captain. As a House Captain the children representing the school at the annual Crown Court Service at All Saint’s Church. Children are consulted and contribute to the development of school policies, for example our behaviour policy and the school aims. They also vote for the charities that they wish to support over the year.
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 worship times. 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 from authorities such as the Police and 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, through 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. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, for example, choosing the level of challenge in some lessons and deciding what to present at class assemblies to parents.
As a Church of England school, our ethos is based around core Christian values, including respect. Our 5G’s ‘God, Growing, Grace, Giving and Guiding’ are firmly based on the value of respect, which permeates all aspects of school life, including our school development plan and behaviour policy. This is supported by our collective worship time. Pairs of classes from different Key Stages are linked as ‘Reading Buddies’.
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. Worship times 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. Every Key Stage Two year group has a school visit to a different place of worship annually. We are currently involved in a partnership project with a school in Malawi, which gives pupils the opportunity to learn about other cultures. We use opportunities such as The Olympics and World Cups to study other countries.