The Department for Education has recently clarified 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.’
This directly links to our Christian ethos within the school and the community. The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy.
At Sywell CE Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
- Share and discuss ideas and agree what will happen
- Believe in yourself, make your own decisions but respect others
- Follow the rules
- Be polite and kind to one another
- Treat everyone the same
Democracy is demonstrated through ensuring both the pupil and adult voice are heard and acted upon where viable. Open-door communication is actively encouraged and feedback from all stakeholders is actively sought – eg, annual parent and pupil survey.
The children’s voice is evident in various areas of school life. Children are asked to share their ideas and opinions in class PSHCE lessons and Collective Worship. Pupils, parents and staff are consulted on key changes as well as the ongoing aspects of school life.
The School Team Captains play an active role in decision making. For God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
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 nurturing support.
Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised on how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHCE lessons or through our Behaviour Policy. Whether it be through choice of extra roles in the school or through participation in our extra-curricular clubs, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
At all times we recognise that with our liberty comes a responsibility to others, whether it be through supporting their rights or by exercising our rights in an appropriate and considerate manner. Just as each of us has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)
The rule of law
At the start of each year, children consider the expectations they have of themselves, their peers and their teachers. The importance of rules based on mutual expectation, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced in class, Collective Worship and on the playground.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Within the school we reward good behaviour through praise, team points, certificates and end of term treats. Children are taught that there are consequences to bad behaviour eg missing a playtime or having a time out in line with our Behaviour Policy.
Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Phillippians 4:8)
We respect self, others and our environment. Displays around the school promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy. Respect is articulated through the everyday actions of the children and staff to each other, through our appreciation of ‘outside’ visitors and through learning about the courage of other. These provide a point of reflection, conversation and recognition.
Treat others just as you want to be treated. (Luke 6:31)
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. As well as the Christian faith, we engage with local faiths in the community and we spend curriculum time looking at different faiths led by key members within the community. Key cultural events are recognised and celebrated.
Staff and governors of Sywell CE Primary School take extremely seriously our responsibility to develop our pupils’ awareness of what it means to be British. We aim to do this through explicit consideration of the overarching values identified above but also through curriculum activities that promote a fuller understanding.