Our School Values Promote British Values
The Catholic ethos at St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School, clearly promotes the fundamental British values of:
- The rule of law,
- Individual liberty,
- Mutual respect and
- Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs… that the DfE wants to see embedded in our young people.
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 St Francis Xavier Catholic primary School these values are reinforced regularly, in the following ways:
Democracy is embedded throughout our school. At St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary we encourage children to use their pupil voice to share ideas and concerns and be involved in decision-making that affects the whole school.
The children have the opportunity to have their voices heard regularly, both informally and formally through our children’s council, class councils, children’s questionnaires and interviews with children by adults where the children’s views are taken into consideration.
Pupils will always be listened to by adults and will be taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard.
The elections of House Captains and class councillors each term are the result of children’s votes. The elections are promoted in each class and candidates are asked to give a brief presentation to their classmates on what characteristics they have that they believe would make them a good representative, with support if necessary, at a level appropriate to the child’s need. They use this democratic opportunity to try to persuade their peers to give them their vote. The children are then chosen through a democratic process.
Our children’s council are consulted on many issues such as the school’s behaviour rewards and sanctions. Their views on school improvement and what they would do to make the school a better place are shared and considered then outcomes fed back.
Each year the children create their class rules and explore the rights and responsibilities associated with these. All of the children contribute to the creation of these rules.
In each classroom there is a school council display, where children can stick post-it notes. These notes are taken by the school council members to the next meeting and addressed. School council members have also been actively involved in the interview process for new members of staff.
The Rule of Law
The importance of our Laws, whether created to govern a class, the whole school, our Church or our country, is consistently reinforced throughout each school day. Children are taught that laws are created to help govern and protect us and they are also taught, at an appropriate level, the value of those laws and the reasons behind their creation. This brings with it responsibilities and consequences when laws are broken.
Visits to school are encouraged from authority figures within our own faith Church as well as other faiths. We also encourage visits from the Police and Fire Service to help reinforce this message in terms of prevention and possible consequences. Our children’s council invited a representative from the governing body to ask about how they govern the school and they also helped the headteacher to write the school’s most recent behaviour rewards and sanctions policy.
At St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School, children are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a Catholic school we educate and provide boundaries within our Catholic framework of values for all of our young children to make choices safely.
The provision of an environment where the children feel safe and empowered is the key to the development of their self-esteem and self-confidence. This is a strength where our children show they have the confidence to speak out.
Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms as well as understand their responsibilities and they are advised how to exercise these safely.
Our children are often given the freedom to make choices, for example, in their selection of learning challenge, about how they record their work or which of our extra-curricular enrichment activities they would like to join.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our Catholic ethos. Children learn and appreciate that their behaviours affect their rights and those of others.
Our children support a number of charities, sometimes linked directly to children in our school and sometimes further afield within our diocese and beyond, globally. Again, this is a key element of our ethos, to try to improve the lives of those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
The children regularly demonstrate their respect for others at sporting competitions, during visits out of school such as the local hospital and the over 50 society, during talks from visiting speakers to our school such as the local Anglican vicar and member of the local Muslim community and during specific curriculum sessions such as circle time.
We are committed to serving our school community, Church community and local community. We recognise the multi-cultural, multi-faith and multi-ethnic nature of Britain and understand the crucial role our school plays in promoting inclusive values. We encourage admissions from all those entitled to education under British law regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status.
We are an inclusive school and promote British values through our spiritual, moral, social and cultural education which is taught across the school's curriculum and supports the development of the whole child. These values and attitudes are promoted and provide a model of behaviour for our children.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Our Catholic ethos is not about tolerance but about engagement with all. We believe tolerance is too low a threshold for our children. Our school community is quite diverse but does not mirror the range of cultural diversity found in our local community. This means we have to place a greater emphasis on promoting engagement with others, enhancing the children’s understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity so that the children’s learning is taken out into the local community after school.
Assemblies, PSHE and RE lessons are regularly planned to include and celebrate different beliefs and cultures, particularly Judaism, the root of our own Faith, and those seen within our community. These topics address key similarities and differences as well as discussions around any types of prejudice. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths in our multi-cultural community. Members of different faith communities are also encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within school and our weekly ethos statements regularly reinforce this value.
We welcome children and families from all cultures and beliefs and actively promote inclusion. Our governing body and staffing make-up reflect this. We celebrate diversity and see it as a strength, as many of our children speak English as an additional language. Our human resources are used to support the integration of children and families into our school society.
At St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School, we will actively challenge
children, staff, governors or parents expressing opinions contrary
to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.