The DfE has 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 (2014).
At Crowland Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
The children decide upon their class mission statement, the rights associated with this, and their own rules. Each class votes for two school council representatives which give every class a say on the decisions that are made in our school. The council meets every week with the Deputy Head and Pastoral Support Manager to discuss any issues raised in class council meetings. The council is genuinely able to effect change within our school. The school has a Head Girl and Head Boy and a number of prefects who meet regularly to have an input into school life. Our IPC curriculum encourages all aspects of respect for democracy and the democratic process. Peer Mediators are appointed to encourage positive play and are trained to support children resolve conflict. Individual children are also appointed for posts of responsibility in the classroom such as cloakroom monitors. All children have an annual questionnaire where they are able to put forward theirviews about the school. Views are sought from the wider community, through questionnaires and parents and carers forums with the Headteacher and Deputy. The community is at the heart of the school and local issues are raised, discussed and acted upon.
Children are taught about democracy in this country and how it differs from other countries. Levels of government and the voting system are explored. Imperfections in the democratic system are discussed. Children have an understanding of how citizens can influence decision making. Elections are discussed, in the context of the democratic process. Non democratic systems are explored and contrasts made.
Children know what is on the news locally, nationally and internationally and discuss it. The school actively seeks to engage children in discussions about gang culture and gun/knife crime in a safe forum.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced at Crowland Primary. Pupils are taught the rules from an early age in the Early Year’s Foundation Stage. Each class has an agreed set of rules and a behaviour contract. The children are aware of the consequences of not following the rules in their school community. The children learn to understand the difference between right and wrong in all aspects of school life throughout the day. There is an opportunity for children to put right what has been done wrong, wherever possible. Children are given the opportunity to understandaspects of civil and criminal law and discuss how this might be different from some religious laws.
Pupils in our school expect and receive a fair system where actions are always respectfully justified. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws; that they exist to govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Children look at threats to the rule of law, on an international, national and local level. Community cohesion is explored and its importance taught. Gang culture is discussed along with ways to avoid becoming involved with it. Crimes associated with being in a gang are explored, with reference to local and national issues. Gun and knife crime are discussed in a safe environment, as a threat to the rule of law and community cohesion. The democratic nature of law making is made explicit. Children are taught age related law, eg the age of criminal culpability, age for driving, voting etc.
Visits from authorities such as the police, fire service and the community police from our local secondary school (Gladesmore) help reinforce this message.
At Crowland Primary our pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportiveenvironment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make informed choices, through a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and areadvised how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-Safety and PHSE lessons.
Our children are encouraged to give their opinions and share these ideas with due regard for the feelings of others. Children understand that their right to their ownopinion is tempered by their duty to do what their parents and the school want them to do. Children have a right to be listened to and great value is placed on this. Children know that there is freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs and that this is protected by law. Children also know that there are limits to individual liberty, for example racism and homophobic behaviour are not tolerated. The wider community is involved through regular forums with the Head and Deputy Head in the vision for the school and understand their role in challenging non inclusive views.
As part of our curriculum we place a huge emphasis on the social and emotional learning of our children and feel we send them off to secondary school as well rounded individuals, ready to undertake the next stage of their life. Our close links with the local secondary school supports children, and further promotes a sense of being in a community. We celebrate achievements both in and out of school in assemblies, through certificates and by following a personalised approach. We know our children really well and they know they are part of community. All of the children have access to the Pastoral Support Manager or the Assistant Head for Inclusion when necessary. This helps the children access support in a confidential and supportive way.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. 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. This is an absolute expectation and forms the basis of our vision statement. The school’s motto is Together Everybody Achieves More (TEAM) and everybody understands their responsibilities within this. Children are expected to demonstrate good manners and courtesy to everybody and this is celebrated. Children often represent the school within the wider community and understand their responsibilities towards everybody. The school actively seeks to promote mutual respect within the whole community, with links to the aging population, local enterprise and pre-school. The school has further links with schools in different contexts, ie rural Devon and Sierra Leone and works to promote respect for everybody. The school through its International Primary Curriculum makes comparisons between other countries and cultures in the world.
Tolerance of those of different Faiths and Beliefs
We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education lessons andPSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. The children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths. Throughout school life the children are encouraged to discuss differences between people such as their faith, ethnicity, disability, gender or sexuality. They also discuss differences in family life such as looked after children or young carers. Our language of the month gives children the opportunity to tell us about different faiths and cultures in whole school assemblies.
International and national failures in tolerance are discussed. Children have an understanding of the importance of combating discrimination, and this is explored locally, nationally and internationally. Children understand that being British is about living with a wide range of people, from different backgrounds and that understanding the uniqueness of this has value for community cohesion, and world peace.
British Traditions and Heritage
We celebrate the role of Britain both historically and in the present. We want pupils to have knowledge of and be proud of their British heritage and the cultural and historical traditions that we are renowned for the world over. This involves celebrating royal events, Remembrance Day, festivals such as Harvest, Christmas, Easter (alongside those from other cultures such as Eid, Diwali and Chinese New Year, for example). The school recognises St George’s Day and any other Saints days. All children are taught the national anthem. The children visit places of cultural significance in London for example, The Houses of Parliament St Pauls, and the many museums. In addition, sporting events celebrate British traditions and heritage with British food being served, ie strawberry teas. A special celebration, ‘British Week’ is identified on the school calendar that seeks to involve the whole community.
We work tirelessly to build a culture that will stand the test of time, where our pupils can become good, effective citizens. We teach our children to respect everyone regardless of any differences. Our home school agreement encourages partnership with the whole community, and we work to involve everybody in the life of the school.