In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsteds inspection process.
Although in 2014-15 this is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new at Bankside Primary. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning and PSHE sessions. The values are integral to our long-standing visual ethos statement which complements British values and always has done.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including extremist views.
The term British values might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries, for example.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values. The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Bankside Primary. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, celebrating of festival s such as Easter and Christmas .What could be more British than a trip to a pantomime around Christmas time
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our annual, whole-school Where in the World topic ensures that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about: its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains,
where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Historically: From year 3, we track the history of England chronologically, from the Stone Age until World War 2, so that children understand how the past has shaped the present in contemporary England – through invasion, slavery, conquest, war and all the other aspects of human determination, ambition and need that have created our current society.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Bankside Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets every Friday to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school; in the past, the School Council has planned the butterfly house , arranging meetings with local councillors and MPs to discuss any areas of concern. The Council are actively involved in recruitment and in providing teachers with feedback.
Other examples of pupil voice are:
- Children agree their Class Charter and Global Charter and the rights associated with these; all children contribute to the drawing up of the charter
children have the opportunity to nominate and vote for others to present and or attend evenets.
- Children nominate various charities, then select the themes of the non uniform days. At Bankside we take pride in supporting a range of charities such as within the past year we have supported St Aidan’s Foodshare, Lullaby charter ( sudden infant death) , Red Cross , Supporting natural disasters such as Nepal, Red Nose day and also the local homeless shelter.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
Rules and laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Class Charter and discuss the schools golden rules and a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
– visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
– during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
– during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in a sports lesson, for example
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
– choices about what learning challenge or activity
– choices about how they record their learning
– choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our e-safety and PSHE lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Bankside Primary is in an area which is greatly culturally diverse and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect is at the heart of our aims and ethos to develop understanding of and respect for a wide range of religious values, languages and cultural traditions and different ways of life and the key phrase we expect the best for everybody and from everybody.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Bankside Primary enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
– through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example
enjoying a depth of study during Community Themed Weeks such as Interfaith Week, Mandela Week and Safety Week, where sometimes we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the word (whilst at other times we might consider groups or individuals who might be vulnerable in some way, such as those with mental health issues)
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. Bankside Primary, such instances are extremely rare- there is a message abundancy approach to making our problems smaller. They are treated seriously in line with our behaviour learning policy.