TEACHING BRITISH VALUES
Promoting British Values at Rockwell Green Church of England Primary School (2015-2016)
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 have been reiterated this year (2015). At Rockwell Green these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Rockwell Green is currently working towards becoming a UNICEF Rights Respecting School. Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter. The School Rules are also annually reviewed with the children.
We have a student council, which meets regularly during the school year. These children have had to write a presentation to their peers to persuade them why they should be elected to the role at start of the year. Each school councillor was voted for by their class. The school council is genuinely able to effect change within the school. As part of the Year 6 citizenship award the children visit the local council chambers with a special lesson about democracy and the importance of having a voice.
Democracy is also actively practised in classes with children voting on a range of issues, from how to spend the money in their class moneyboxes, to how to improve the facilities in the school playground.
The children have twice yearly questionnaires on issues ranging from playground issues, to their opinions about how they view school. These then feed into future planning.
How we influence democracy is explored though PSHE and assemblies. This includes looking at historical figures and exploring the effectiveness of different approaches.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is reinforced at Rockwell Green.
Pupils are taught from an early age the ‘rules’ of the school. These are our Rockwell Green Values. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
Many of these rules and laws are taught through our PSHE curriculum, which includes many safety aspects, such as: road safety, firework safety, e-safety and fire safety. We also have strong links with our police community support officers who come into school to work with our children.
Through the UNICEF Rights Respecting School our children are educated about their rights as a child and injustices which can take place to others are explored.
At Rockwell Green, 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 from where pupils can make informed choices, through a safe environment (both in the real world and through our online learning platform – eschools) and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised 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 (for example using their iPad or not, or how they present group work), of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values - Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
We have a Treetops room in which takes place support for children (sometimes with outside agencies) and the development of specific children’s social and emotional skills.
Anti-bullying has a high profile within the school with it being addressed through general classroom practice, the PSHE curriculum, assemblies and outside people, such as theatre groups.
Children are also taught about respect and bullying in the online world, through our learning platform and through regular e-safety lessons. They also know what to do if they see something disrespectful.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Rockwell Green is not a diverse school; the majority of our pupils and all of our staff are white British. However, our Religious Education lessons, assemblies and PSHE lessons actively challenge stereotypes and reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others no matter their ethnicity, beliefs, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age or any other protected characteristics (as outlined in the 2010 Equalities Act and article 14 of UNICEFs Rights of the child). We are planning annual School Diversity Days to promote this, where our children can share in a range of rich cultures and traditions.
Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. The children, every two years, will visit at least one place of worship. This has been timetabled for years 1, 3 and 5, so that children will visit a place of worship for 3 major religions by the time they leave our school. Major religious festivals are acknowledged through assemblies and the RE curriculum.
We encourage our children to interact with children from other schools, both locally and looking to link with a school in Birmingham through organised activities.
At Rockwell Green, we actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to the values we hold as a school, including ‘extremist’ views.