The DfE 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’’
At Washacre we understand the importance of such values. They are integral to the curriculum experience, are core life skills and are embedded in our daily practice.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values.
Democracy at Washacre
We plan opportunities for children, parents and staff to contribute to and express their views ensuring their opinions are heard.
We have a Friends of Washacre Group which meets one per half term at Friday Coffee Mornings. We consult with stakeholders about new initiative and listen to their views around issues that are concerning them.
We have a Governor in attendance and they make sure that any issues are relayed to the Governing body to be addressed.
We have a School Council. Two representatives are elected by the children from each year group. They attend a monthly meeting with a member of the Senior Leadership Team. They discuss all sort of topics and give the adults very useful feedback about how we run the school!
Annually the entire staff, representatives from governing Board, young leaders and parents meet to revisit our schools Vision, Values and key developments. The next day will revisit our core values linked with British Values and we will then ensure that these underpin all our work going forward,
In addition we ask parents and carers annually to complete a questionnaire and we value their feedback about how we run the school and their thoughts on initiatives that have run during the year.
We ensure that all teachers are available to listen. Every morning they meet and greet on the yard, strengthening positive relationships and encouraging discussion with our parents and carers.
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 the school day, following our behaviour policy.
Our behaviour policy is based on positivity and conforming to the school rules. Pupils are rewarded for doing the right thing in many ways. Of course there are also sanctions in place for not following the rules just as there are in wider society.
In addition there are many ways that children are rewarded for demonstrating a positive attitude and supporting the schools values.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example.
Our experienced team support our most vulnerable of children in making the right choices, providing care, nurture, boundaries and extra- curricular activities. Visits from authorities such as the Fort Alice, Police and Fire service help reinforce this message.
Children are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide clear boundaries for our children to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and an enriched curriculum. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised on how to exercise these safely, for example through our Online Safety and PSHE/SMSC lessons. Our Forest School is a perfect opportunity for encouraging team work, problem solving, resilience and many more values. Whether it be through choice of a learning challenge, choice of learning style or how they record, of participation in our wide range of extra-curricular clubs and events such as Remembrance Sunday or charity events.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs.
We have a termly RESPECT week and in the past have had many themes; Disability, faith, culture, adults and children’s rights.
All are underpinned by our values work and have a strong link to ‘Rights and Responsibilities’
Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others; they know and understand that everyone is expected to demonstrate tolerance and mutual respect. Again there is a strong link with our behaviour policy and school values.
Tolerance of those of different Faiths and Beliefs
We strive to enhance our children’s tolerance of their place in a culturally diverse and ever changing society and plan opportunities through PSHCE, SMSC, RE and assemblies.
The whole school including parents, friends, staff and pupils sign an annual ‘home school agreement ‘. Amongst other thing everyone commits to supporting our values.
We also strive to enable our children to be a good British citizen and develop strong life skills which enable them to have a full and rounded life.
Actively promoting British Values also means challenging children, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values. Any such incident is treated seriously in line with our expectations and policies.
Something which is clearly not part of any British or European value is extremism. It is important to remember that whilst the threat from so-called Islamic State has been a focus in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act, the Prevent Duty is clear that extremism of all kinds should be tackled too. In England, far right groups such as Britain First and the English Defence League need to be tackled, too. Extremism is not a new topic in education, but schools have a relatively new statutory duty to pay “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.