Teaching British Values
• The DfE have 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 this year (2014).
• Recently two Senior leaders have been on a 1 day Training conference focussing on British Values.
• Our designated Safeguarding leads took part in a certificated prevent strategy training course in March 2015.
• At St. Matthew's British Values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy and communication is embedded in school life as the ‘voice’ of each pupil is valued and heard. Pupils are listened to by adults and taught to listen actively to one another, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions heard. Pupils have the opportunity to share opinions and ideas through the School Council and regular ‘pupil voice’ evaluation. Elections of the School Council members are based on pupil votes after each child has shared their manifesto.
Our student council which meets regularly with the Head teacher / Learning mentor to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The council has its own budget and is genuinely able to effect change within the school. Every child on the student council is voted in by their class. They have led the way with British Values and SMSC and are incredibly articulate. Recently our Primary Advisor led pupil discussions with the council and he was highly impressed at their level of awareness and ability to articulate what British Values and SMSC represent. Below are some of his findings:
- Pupils had a strong awareness of the Christian belief, and could name other beliefs represented in Modern Britain.
- The School Council showed great maturity in their responses, particularly in relation to the need for respect and the importance of not insulting others from other faiths.
- The pupils enjoy school and appreciate the way in which the curriculum provides practical active learning which enables them to use their imagination.
- Their knowledge and understanding of school rules was good, including the use of sanctions.
- The pupils’ understanding of equality and fairness was very impressive, as across all groups they consistently stressed the importance of people treating others like you want to be treated yourself.
- Pupils explained clearly how they played together co-operatively regardless of their peers faith or ethnicity.
- The inclusive ethos of the school: two pupils who had arrived at the school from other countries explained how other pupils had supported them and helped them to be included.
- Pupils support an impressive range of charities and talked of helping those who had less than they did.
- The School Council had a good understanding of what being British meant, and explained that within the school there were children from other countries who were now British citizens. (One child used the term British Citizen).
- The School Council had a good understanding of the meaning of democracy and the importance of voting processes to elect members and make decisions. They were able to explain that the school council acted like a mini-parliament.
- Pupils had a sound understanding of issues within their neighbourhood.
Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter.
Children have an annual questionnaire where they are able to put forward their views about the school.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether governing the class, the school or the country, is consistently reinforced. The children discuss and set their own classroom rules to ensure that they are relevant and clearly understood by all. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, the responsibility they have to uphold them and the consequences when laws are broken. They are taught the importance of right and wrong, in particularly relating to the schools Christian values.
Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school. We have our ‘Pupil Pact’ (devised by our children), our Playground Rules and Safety Rules, and our Behaviour Policy. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Pupils at St. Matthew’s are seen as unique and valued individuals, each of whom is equally important. They 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 informed choices, through a safe environment and an 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 eSafety and PSHE lessons.
• The ICT ‘BYTES’ group lead a yearly assembly on eSafety encouraging others to be safe online.
• Our children take part in the STAR programme at Year 6 led by the police CSOs this programme stands for STOP THINK ACT REFLECT and focused on drug awareness and confidence to SAY NO!
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values, demonstrated by pupils and staff and is deeply embedded in learning and behaviour. Pupils understand that respect must be shown to everyone, whatever differences there may be. Respect underpins school life, in and out of the classroom.
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 links with the Golden Rule of Christianity that was proclaimed by Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount, and found in the Gospel of Matthew (7:12): "In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you."
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Christian concepts and values form an integral part of pupils’ daily learning but are taught alongside an understanding and celebration of different faiths, cultures, philosophies and beliefs. This tolerance is embedded within all subjects, particularly RE, enabling pupils to gain an enhanced understanding of the place of religion in a multi-faith world and their own place in a culturally diverse society.
St. Matthew’s is a Church of England School and we are led by Christian values. However we are also a diverse school and believe the values we hold are common to many religions. We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education lessons and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. We also have the St. Matthew’s TEAM spirit which is embedded across our School and Nursery Centre which focuses on qualities we feel are important such as Thankfulness, Enjoyment, Ambition and Mission. 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 which are important to different faiths.