Promoting British Values at
St John's CE(A) J&I School,
Recently, the Department for Education reinforced the following:
“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.”
Our role at St John’s is to uphold both our British and School Christian values. We do this through all aspects of school life and learning.
Honesty, Respect, Forgiveness, Friendship and Love
These are the Christian values we want to show others. We use these as a basis for all that we do in our school and we ensure the British Values are part of this, through teaching and learning about democracy, uniqueness, tolerance and equality.
We ensure that partisan political and religious views are not promoted in the teaching of any subject in our school and where political or religious issues are brought to the attention of our children, reasonably practicable steps will be taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views to the children.
Members of staff will remain vigilant to the possibility of children accessing or sharing materials which are likely to promote extremist views. If any materials are discovered, paper or computer, they will be brought to the attention of the Headteacher and/or Senior Leaders straight away.
In order to build the children’s resilience to radicalisation and understanding of other religions, faiths and cultures we will create a ‘safe environment’ for classroom debate and discussion about others to help our children to recognise the contribution which they and others can make to country and the wider world.
We will help our children to understand that while different people may hold differing views about what is right and wrong, everyone living in the UK are subject to its laws. In our school, at St John’s we will encourage the children to support the rule of British civil and criminal law and not teach anything which would undermine this. We will also challenge opinions and behaviours in school that are contrary to fundamental British values and law.
At St John’s, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy – we have a very active School Council who act as a pupil voice for our children. The success of the School Council stems from the dedication and commitment of the elected members who work on behalf of their classes to make sure their voice is heard with regard to important decision making in school. New members are democratically elected annually through a robust voting process. Children have to ‘stand’ as candidates, give a speech detailing why they’d like to be part of the Council and what they can offer. Their classmates then cast their votes by secret ballot and the winning candidates announced. They meet half termly to discuss common school issues which need to be resolved, plan charitable fund raising events throughout the year and represent our school on visits.
The Rule of Law – we have our own school rules which are upheld in every class and pupils are reminded regularly of these. The children are taught the reasons for having rules and the values behind the laws in our society that govern and protect us, as well as the responsibilities that these involve and the consequences when laws are broken. We recognise the key role we have in school to support the ‘PREVENT’ strategy and to develop good practice to prevent extremism.
Individual Liberty – we encourage our children to make ‘good’ choices, in a safe and supportive environment. We educate and provide boundaries for our children to take the right decision through the PHSE and RE curriculum. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, and personal freedoms, and advised how to exercise these safely.
Mutual Respect – we teach our children to respect everyone including each other and the adults around them, regardless of their role in school. One of our school Christian values is ‘respect’ and our school ethos reflects this. We discuss what we mean by being respectful to others, we also promote good manners and kindness. Indeed, if children or adults see another person showing respect or any of our school values they can add a piece of treasure to our jars and when full, the whole school celebrates and is rewarded.
Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs – we enhance our children’s understanding of their place within a culturally diverse society and we provide opportunities for children to experience diversity. These include visits to local places of worship and work alongside our twinning partners at Paddock J&I School.
Further guidance can be found in the Government’s PREVENT STRATEGY documentation and DfE advice ‘The PREVENT duty: Departmental Advice for schools and childcare providers 2015’. This was written in response to Section 26 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015.