British Values at St. Gregory CEVC Primary School
In June 2014, the Prime Minister emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
British values are promoted in much of what we do, during school Collective Worship, Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) sessions. The values are also integral to our vision and values.
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.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at St. Gregory CEVC Primary School. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions and customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest Festival during the autumn term and trips to the pantomime at Christmas as well as national charitable initiatives such as Children In Need and Comic Relief. We also value and celebrate national events, with recent examples including Roald Dahl Day and the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our rivers, local studies and seaside holiday topics, as well as our links with a town in Kenya through our work with Education Exchange, ensure that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
- its coasts, rivers and mountains
- where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Historically: Key moments in British history are studied in the topics such as ‘Life during World War 2 “ and “ The Romans “ as well as significant historical figures such as William Wilberforce, Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at St Gregory CEVC Primary School Primary School. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is the wide range positions of responsibility that we give the children, including Digital Leaders, Class Ambassadors, Librarians and School Council. Some of these require children to write a written application and go through an interview process, whereas in others the election of the children 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 regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes and also has subcommittees on issues that are important to the children. The council has its own budget and is able to effect change within the school. In June 2016 the School Council visited the Houses of Parliament to meet with our MP and discuss democracy in action. The Council are also actively involved in recruitment and in providing teachers with feedback.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ include:
- children responding and reflecting on the teaching and learning they receive as well as make suggestions for the School Council to consider.
- Playleaders, who shape the structure and content of play time
- Our school debating society, where children learn how to best share their views and treat the ideas of others with consideration and respect
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.
Parents’ opinions are welcomed at St Gregory CEVC Primary School through methods such as questionnaires, surveys at parents’ evenings, workshops for English and Maths, the use class email addresses for ease of contact of the class teacher for areas such as review of the Equalities Single Plan and through the school website and social media.
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 the school rules and class routines, 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, such as in a sports lesson or in PSHE
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, we provide boundaries for our 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, as well as through visits to Crucial Crew for Year 6.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
St Gregory CEVC Primary School promotes and celebrates our different backgrounds and beliefs. Tolerance, politeness and mutual respect are at the heart of our aims and ethos.
Our Christian ethos drives us towards ensuring that our pupils are able to live and work alongside people from all backgrounds and cultures. This will be particularly necessary in a future where due to technological advances will make the ‘world a smaller place.’
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone and to everything, whatever differences we may have. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are encouraged to treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at St Gregory CEVC Primary School enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons where we develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in art and music by considering cultures from other parts of the world.
- celebrating cultural differences through assemblies, themed weeks, noticeboards and displays.
Whilst instances contrary to our values are relatively rare, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to our values. Each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.