The Department for Education state that there is a 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 DfE says the understanding and knowledge that pupils will be expected to have include:
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 Michael’s Catholic School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Democracy is embedded at the school. Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council, Pupil Voice and regular questionnaires. The elections of the School Council members are based solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action.
The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced. Our school has ‘The 5 Ps’, which are deeply embedded in our work every day. Each class also discusses and sets its own rules that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment. Our 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.
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 our pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely; examples of this can be clearly seen in our e-safety and P.S.H.E. lessons. Whether it is through choice of challenge; of how they record; of participation in our numerous extra- curricular activities; our pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Respect is one of the core values of our school as can be seen through our Catholic ethos. The school takes opportunities to actively promote British Values through daily collective worship and whole school systems and structures such as electing and running a successful School Council Members. We also actively promote British values through ensuring that our curriculum planning and delivery includes real opportunities for exploring these values. The pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small. The core value of Respect at St Michael’s Catholic School underpins our work every day both in and out of the classroom.
Our core value of Respect ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs. St Michael’s Catholic School enhances pupils understanding of different faiths and beliefs through religious education studies; P.S.H.E. work; participating in celebrations such as Diwali; welcoming visitors from other schools that are not predominately white British and enjoying a depth of study during themed weeks. During Arts Week the whole school focused on a continent and each class specifically focused on one country from that continent.
Beliefs, traditions and customs in the United Kingdom and around the World will be studied, with visitors being invited in to our school to enrich and extend understanding. Through this our pupils gain an enhanced understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society.