Promoting 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 were reiterated in 2014. At Kirkstall St. Stephen’s these values are reinforced regularly in the following ways:
At St. Stephen’s we believe it is important that the children feel part of the school community and that their opinions and ideas are valued.
Our six school values of Respect, Trust, Perseverance, Justice, Forgiveness and Thankfulness were initially chosen and voted for by the children.
The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action. Candidates from year 6 create and deliver their manifestos to the whole school, pupils then have the opportunity to vote in secret. There are also two representatives from each class. The School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. Recently these have included looking at the safety around the carpark and choosing and raising awareness of our charity of the year .
We have other opportunities for ‘pupil voice’:
- We have begun to develop a Junior Leadership Team which supports the senior leadership team in monitoring actions on the school development plan.
- Children agree their Class Rules at the start of term
- Through clubs and activities such as Global Club and Eco Council
Our local MP, Rachel Reeves, has visited the school on a number of occasions and talked to the children about her role and the importance of Parliament.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of Laws are consistently reinforced throughout the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through collective worship. Knowing, understanding and following our school rules is essential for our school to be a safe learning environment.
Our school rules are as follows: to respect others by using kind hands and feet and kind words; respect the school’s and other people’s property, use our inside voices and walking feet; line up quietly and sensibly; always behave sensibly and follow instructions; show 5 (part of our behaviour policy), use our ignoring muscles and use push-ups not put-downs.
In R.E. we consider codes for life and look at rules of different faiths.
In other lessons, particularly P.E. we look at the importance and necessity of rules. We also explore the reasons for rules e.g. road safety.
We have looked at the ‘United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’ in Collective Worship and in lessons.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely and responsibly, for example through our E- Safety and PSHCE lessons. Our PSHCE curriculum, explores topics such as bullying and cyber-bullying and supports our children to stay safe and contribute positively beyond the school environment.
As a school community we all model respectful behaviour to each other. Respect is one of our school values. We encourage the children both in R.E. and across the curriculum to be respectful of each other’s beliefs and to celebrate diversity. The children enjoy learning about different religions and also expressing their opinions in a respectful environment.
We have written our own global charter, recognising our role as global citizens and the need for respect for all and have been awarded the Fairtrade Schools and Sustainable Schools awards. Our special events such as Fairtrade Fortnight and Black History week reinforce this and we are members of the global learning programme.
We try to ensure that children not only feel welcome in our school but understand the values and ethos of the school. This promotes not only the values of our school but also of the country as a whole.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
Our pupils share a growing understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and they have opportunities to experience diversity. We are proud to be a school of different heritages. Visitors, parents and pupil members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Our R.E. curriculum enables our children to learn about different faiths and to share their own. We regularly attend St. Stephen’s church for services and children in key stage 2 have the opportunity to visit Leeds Minster, a local mosque and gurdwara.
We actively seek links with children in other countries such as Moldova and Tanzania - these have enabled the children to learn about different cultures whilst recognising that we have many things in common.