Promoting British Values at Short Heath Junior School
The Department for Education states that there is a 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 were reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2014.
At Short Heath Junior School, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Democracy is embedded at the school. Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our Pupil Leadership Team (PLT) and regular questionnaires. The elections of the PLT members, House Captains, Head Girl and Head Boy are based solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. Another example of ‘pupil voice’ is how children are asked to respond and reflect on the teaching and learning they receive as well as make suggestions for the PLT to consider. Parents’ opinions are welcomed at Short Heath and termly ‘Parent Council’ meetings give opportunities for opinions to be shared in an informal setting.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced. Our school has ‘Golden Rules’, underpinned by the values which are deeply embedded in our work every day. Each class discusses the Golden Rules through ‘Good to be Green’ which is clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment. Our 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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
•visits from authorities such as the police and fire service,
•during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about,
•during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lessons, for example.
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 our pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely; examples of this can be clearly seen in our e-safety and P.S.H.E. lessons. Whether it is through choice of challenge; of how they record; of participation in our numerous extra- curricular activities; our pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Respect is one of the core values of our school as can be seen through our Golden Rules and within our federation prayer. Our pupils were fully involved in the creation of these and they are deeply embedded in all that we do at the school. The pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small. The core value of respect at Short Heath underpins our work every day both in and out of the classroom. Our federation mission statement reflects our belief that ‘Every day, in every way, everyone matters.’
Tolerance of Those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
Our core value of respect ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs. We endeavour to enhance pupils understanding of different faiths and beliefs through religious education studies; P.S.H.E. work; visits to other schools in different settings to participate in celebrations such as Diwali; welcoming visitors from other schools that are not predominately white British and enjoying a depth of study during themed days. Beliefs, traditions and customs will be studied in depth, with visitors being invited in to our school to enrich and extend understanding. Faith in Action is also a part of our community perspective.
Through the teaching of RE we expect pupils to develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principal religions represented in Great Britain and to appreciate the influence that religious belief and practice has on believers today. All children have a weekly RE lesson. We use a range of teaching and learning styles to appeal to learners within each class. Active learning is encouraged, using artefacts and technologies. Visiting places of worship and welcoming visitors into school, brings the subject to life for pupils. We have close links with Holy Trinity Church and Furzebank Worship centre and the vicar regularly leads morning worship and invites us to church for Christmas and Easter services.
Whilst instances contrary to our values are relatively rare, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to our values. Each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.
Being part of Britain
The curriculum is regularly reviewed to ensure that it promotes British values. At Short Heath, we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views. Part of our vision at Short Heath is to prepare the children of the future to become valued members of society. Promoting British Values enables children to develop a sense of community and begin to understand their responsibilities and role within it.
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Short Heath. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions and customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest Festival, Chinese New Year, Easter and Christmas. We also value and celebrate national events, a recent example being the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Many of our topics ensure that children have a better understanding of where Britain is, learning more about:
•its coasts, rivers and mountains,
•where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world.
Historically: Key moments in British history are studied in the topic ‘Let Battle Commence (Anglo-Saxons and Vikings)’ and significant historical figures in the ‘Land of Hope and Glory' and ‘Vile Victorians’ topics.