Promoting British Values at St Andrew’s
In 2014, the DfE 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 were reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2014.
As a church school these ideas are embedded in the ethos of our school in PSHE, in home-school links, in behaviour as well as in the whole curriculum. Importantly, RE contributes strongly to the British Values agenda. We actively promote the values in order to challenge opinions or behaviours in School that are contrary to fundamental British values.
At St Andrew’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
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 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 are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Religions have different laws and commandments, so pupils can enquire about the origins of codes, rules, laws and the link with British law. When they learn about expectations of different religions they can examine the impact on their own lives and the lives of people in the faith communities.
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 our provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Following an enquiry based approach to teaching RE, pupils understand difference within religions and realise that people have the freedom to choose what they believe. Pupils can investigate the choices different Christians make by interviewing people and asking questions, so they realise that not all Christians are the same and that people are at liberty to choose what they believe and how to express their faith.
Mutual Respect, Democracy and Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is at the heart of our values work. Teachers model respect, tolerance and democracy, allowing pupils to speak, vote and debate. Our pupils visit places of worship from a variety of faiths when this can be planned and/or engage with virtual places of worship.
In RE pupils discuss issues that may be contentious and they investigate what faith practices mean for individuals, thus encouraging mutual respect and tolerance but also developing critical thinking skills. As they learn about religious practices, they can challenge practices, they can challenge ideas and religious intolerance in the media or communities.
Many children with religious background share their belief and practices in the classroom, giving out the message that it is important to respect the beliefs and non-belief of others.
Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Talk Circles. The elections of House Captains are based solely on pupil votes.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as Friendship, Peace and Tolerance and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Our ethos promotes respect for others 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 discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE.