The Department for Education (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.”
There is nothing new in this. Firstly, the previous Government introduced first, “Citizenship” and then “Community Cohesion” at a later date, as a response to specific social concerns. Secondly, all schools have always taught “values” and Church Schools (approximately 25% of all Primary Schools in England) have always looked to 2000 years of Christian teaching, thinking and example as the primary source for making values explicit and real for children in our schools.
St. Giles’ is committed to serving its community and surrounding areas. It recognizes the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom, and those families it serves. It also understands the vital role it has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or discrimination. The school, as a Voluntary Controlled member of the Diocese, accepts admissions from all those entitled to an education under British law, including pupils of all faiths or none. It follows the policies outlined by its Governing Body regarding equal opportunities, which guarantee that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. It seeks to, and does, serve all.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated recently by the Prime Minister. At St. Giles’ these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is promoted and valued within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council. The annual election of our School Councillors, founded on our national electoral system, is based solely on pupil votes. Children must be nominated, make a speech and take part in a “first past the post” election. In addition our children meet with other Councillors from schools within the Colne Valley Consortium.
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 govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service and Diocese are regular parts of our calendar and 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 the provision of a secure 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.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Certificates and rewards promote respect for others, and assemblies give examples of how we should behave towards each other.
In addition we use PSHE curriculum displays around the school from different year groups to demonstrate outcomes for the children’s learning.
Our School mission statement, emphasising mutual respect, created by the children, is visible around the school and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy.
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. Assemblies and events such as ‘staying safe week’ address prejudices and prejudice-based bullying and have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. The children chose the symbol of a balloon to demonstrate how we can ‘fly high’ whoever we are and
“Be the best you can be.”
Should you feel that the school is not meeting this Government requirement, you should contact the school office and request to express your concerns with the Headteacher. Likewise, if you feel that anyone working at the school is, intentionally or otherwise undermining these values, you should report this to the Headteacher.
St. Giles’ C of E Primary School March 2015