Promoting British Values at King’s Somborne C of E Primary 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 in 2014. At King’s Somborne CE Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
The Department for Education published guidance on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. The guidance aims to help schools like ours understand their responsibilities in this area. We all have a duty to ‘actively 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. These values were first set out by the government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011.
Schools must have a clear strategy for embedding these values and show how their work with pupils has been effective in doing so. When implementing this approach (2014), in a letter to the Education Select Committee, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools Lord Nash explained the changes were designed to “tighten up the standards on pupil welfare to improve safeguarding, and the standards on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils to strengthen the barriers to extremism”.
Lord Nash said 'a key part of our plan for education is to ensure children become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance, regardless of background. We want every school to promote the basic British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs. This ensures young people understand the importance of respect and leave school fully prepared for life in modern Britain.'
Examples of the understanding and knowledge pupils are expected to learn include:
an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
an understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law
an acceptance that people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination
In our school, we promote these values in a variety of different ways.
We believe in the power of democracy, and in the importance of people feeling that they have a voice. Children are listened to in our school, and are taught to listen carefully to others. Children are taught to respect the right of individuals to have their voices and opinions heard; this is regularly witnessed in our acts of Collective Worship, where we gather as a whole school, and collectively share our thoughts, feelings and responses in an invitational manner. Within the classroom, each class have the freedom to develop their own class charter, or guidelines, if there is anything that they want to add to our whole school Code of Conduct. In Year 5 and 6 for example, our senior classes, a whole host of roles and responsibilities are created based upon the ideas, vision, values and ethos of our most senior role models, these range from Sports Ambassadors to our Pupil Leadership Team.
The views of children are heard through questionnaires, pupil conferencing, whole school Worship, in class Worship, and in our Wellbeing Council meetings to name but a few. We want our children to have a say in our school, and to feel that they contribute to it being the brilliant place that we want it to be through their input and decision making. With regards to our Wellbeing Council, this was formulated having reflected upon our previous school council system with our pupils. We agreed that our safety and wellbeing was our initial priority, and wanted this to be reflected in the name of our new council. Our Wellbeing Council is set at the beginning of each year, and they then set meeting agendas with the support of our Staff Wellbeing Team. Our Wellbeing Counsellors are voted in, but importantly, our meetings are then invitational - any member of the pupil body is then invited to attend a meeting to ensure equality of voice and opportunity for all - we all have a lot to offer. Children can find their voices at different times, but we want to ensure that we actively create opportunities for them to be invited and welcome on sharing their thought, ideas and feelings.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, be it those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the school, and behaviour expectations are collectively discussed, modelled and celebrated through class and school Worship. Pupils are taught from an early age the value and importance of the school rules, and how they help to keep us all safe. Not only do we look at our school rules and laws but we look at wider societal laws and discuss their importance - giving our children a chance to explore and discuss scenarios and how they might respond. Examples of this might be when we look at the 'Speak Out. Stay Safe.' programmes run by the NSPCC, or 'Clever Never Goes' as a means of supporting our children in knowing the law, and upskilling themselves with knowing how to stay safe. Children are taught the value and the reason behind the rules/laws; that they govern and protect us - the responsibility that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. As this understanding of law continues to deepen and widen, as a key part of our Safeguarding Curriculum, visits from authorities such as the Police, Medical teams, the Fire Service etc. are key parts of our calendar and help to reinforce this message. We look at the people who serve us, and why following rules and laws help us to contribute positively to society.
With regards to our school specific 'laws' or rules, our clear and consistent Code of Conduct provides with a shared set of rules and expectations that promote a positive attitude towards ourselves and others. We take the time to invest in our children and support them in both abiding by and understanding our rules - with understanding of both rules and consequences (for both themselves and others) forming a key part of our provision. A school wide focus on continuous education, and personal development, are key in supporting our children, and ourselves, to become the best version of ourselves.
We want our children to feel the freedom to express their voice, opinions and beliefs in a safe and respectful environment. We aim to foster and cultivate a culture of liberty which does not discriminate, but instead inspires through compassion, empathy and understanding. Children are expected to take responsibility for their own actions and to understand the consequence their actions might have; but to question and explore in the security that they will be supported and guided by the school staff and their peers. Our children are also actively encouraged to make the right choices, with the adults in the school expected to act as positive role models.
We educate and provide boundaries for children to support them in making informed and considered choices, but also aim to provide them with the confidence to feel a sense of self worth and value that enables them to share their voice, opinion, insight or freedoms. Our vision is supported through through the teaching of PSHE by using our Heart Smart curriculum. .
We actively promote individuality and look at the brilliance in diversity. Our approach to education means that we want to support our children in finding their voice, and provide them with the building blocks to make positive choices that reflect their true character.
Mutual respect is a core value at King’s Somborne CE Primary School, and one that is modelled by all staff - with each and every member of our community deserving to be treated with dignity, courtesy, kindness and respect. Through discussions in class and whole school Worship children learn what this means, and that their behaviours have an effect on both themselves and others. Our implementation of our safeguarding curriculum and our school behaviour policy helps to support our children in understanding the importance of keeping themselves and others safe. For even our youngest of children, this involved educating everyone in understanding how we can help to make people feel safe and valued - through our actions, our words and even our body language. We are proud of the way in which we treat one another in our school and are always looking at ways in which we can further enhance our provision to ensure that every child, staff member and stakeholder feels happy, safe and valued in our school.
For those struggling with their emotions, with their own self esteem, or struggling to fully understand how or why we need to respect one another, the school supports them in their emotional development through dialogue, targeted support through ELSA, and by ensuring that clear and timely communication takes place between class teachers and parents. .
Our Christian Values of Love, Trust, Hope and Joy help to lead us in each and every interaction. As a means of promotion and celebration, our Christian Value Champions are selected each week and shared with our whole school community.
Tolerance of Those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
The school recognises its role in preparing children for life in modern Britain. This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by providing opportunities to experience such diversity. Through Worship, class discussions, RE and our PSHE curriculum, we reinforce messages of tolerance and respect. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. We actively promote celebrations of different faiths and cultures, and still act in accordance with our school charter so many years on (1842). This is a school for all children, irrespective of faith, and instead with key foundations in being there to support all learners, including the most vulnerable.
Staff regularly review the curriculum to ensure that it promotes the areas above. It also ensures that pupils are taught about key events and figures in history. Events during the year celebrate culturally diverse occasions and memorable events taking place in the country. You can see by our revitalised curriculum (September 2021) that there are key themes and learning opportunities that allow us to further explore and incorporate our British Values. These educational elements, as well as our daily approach to modelling our values help to ensure that these key positive behaviours and attitudes become instilled in all members of our community. Our weekly newsletters and curriculum newsletters regularly relay some of the brilliant learning around our British Values that take place in our school.
At King’s Somborne CE Primary School we will actively challenge children, staff or parents who express opinions that are contrary to fundamental British values including extremists views. Our school uses our values of Love, Trust, Hope and Joy as a means of promoting positive British values, and we feel very strongly that this is a school for everyone. We will endeavour to do all that we can to support each and every child in achieving their potential in a happy and safe environment.