Promoting British Values
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 this year (2014). At St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Each year the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of these rules.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school. Council members for each year group are voted in by their class.
Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school.
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 assemblies. 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 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 safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
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.