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.”
It is important to emphasise that British values as defined by the Government are already at the heart of a Catholic school through it’s adherence to Gospel Values. This is made clear in the document, ‘Christ at the Centre’ written and published initially by the Archdiocese of Birmingham and latterly adopted by the Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales for Catholic Education. This document states that ‘Gospel Values’ are best defined by the Beatitudes.
Actively promoting these values means challenging pupils, staff or parents/carers who express opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views. St Chad’s RC Primary School takes opportunities and is committed to promoting these fundamental British values in the following ways:
Pupil voice, as well as parent/carer voice, plays a central part in developing school improvement priorities. The school is clear in demonstrating how pupils should contribute and co-operate and consider the views and needs of others. The School Council is currently being reconstituted and will regularly and takes part in decision making on a range of topics. We have promoted democracy through our Parent Governor Election in the Autumn Term, which received 4 nominations and over 90 parental votes.
The Rule of Law:
Staff consistently reinforce high expectations of pupils. Whenever appropriate pupils are taught the value and reasons behind these expectations; that they are there to protect us and that everyone has responsibility and there may be consequences when rules are disregarded. We have a very clear behaviour system, which all the children and adults understand. This is supported by a home school agreement which clearly sets out our high expectations for staff , children and parents in partnership together. To further promote the rule of law, for the last two years we have included visits to the criminal law court into our KS2 curriculum. Here they educated into the justice system by qualified legal professionals. We have also been visited twice by the excellent HMP police dog project, which covers a wide range of topics including personal responsibility and the rule of law.
Within school, everyone is actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. The school provides pupils with opportunities to learn about what makes a good choice. Pupils are encouraged to express their views and teaching and learning incorporates their preferences and interests. The children have a 1:1 mentor meeting with their teacher each term, where they get the chance to talk about their learning and things they feel will help them.
At St Chad’s, our Christian values of respect and tolerance permeate all areas of school life. This engenders a climate within which pupils feel safe and secure and facilitates the fulfilment of potential. All staff demonstrate respect to everyone with whom they come into contact. They consistently model and promote the behaviours and attitudes that are the foundation of positive relationships. The strong school ethos encourages everyone to consider and support each other and to celebrate the worth and individuality of every member of the school community. As part of this we have invited the Community Police team (PCSO) to talk to Y6 about the laws surrounding discrimination and their responsibility to show mutual respect as they develop into citizens in Britain.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
The school’s curriculum aims to develop understanding of the world. The RE and PSHE schemes of work provide opportunities for pupils to develop tolerance of and empathy towards those from different faiths, beliefs and cultures. As part of this our curriculum we make visits to the local Islamic Education Centre, Jewish Museum and Sikh Temple. Most Recently Y4 visited the Mosque in the autumn term, the other visits are organised periodically.
The effectiveness of our strategy in promoting ‘British Values’ will be monitored by the Senior Leadership Team and the Governors, through formal and informal discussion with pupils, and evidenced through work in pupils’ books, projects, photographs, attitudes and behaviours in and out of lessons.