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 continued to be reiterated.
At St Mary’s these values are reinforced in the following ways:
Each year, the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the rules and sign their agreement with them. We have a School Council which meets every month with the lead teacher to discuss issues raised in class meetings. The School Council also has a voice over how to spend certain parts of the budget that are able to effect change within the school. Our House Groups provide an annual opportunity for children to vote for house captains after hustings have taken place.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country are consistently reinforced at St Mary’s. Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school. These are our playground rules, behaviour rules and school rules. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind the rules and laws, that they govern us and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from local authorities such as the Police and PSCOs (and through courses such as 'Mini Police') help reinforce this message.
At St Mary’s, 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 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 the promotion of eSafety and PSHE lessons.
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. School policies and procedures ensure that respect is applied in all elements of school life.
St Mary’s is proud to be a diverse school, welcoming children from all walks of life. We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education and PSHE 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 and mark occasions such as Inclusion Week