On the 799th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2014, the Prime Minister wrote an article on the importance of actively promoting British values. Following this, OFSTED has included how well schools promote British values in its inspection process.
Although this is something which is developing in its significance for schools since 2014, it is not a new idea at Swanton Abbott Community Primary. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum. The values are integral to our ethos and values statement which complements British values and always has done.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we will 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 democratic countries which respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Using the OFSTED criteria as categories, here is how we promote British Values at Swanton Abbott Community Primary:
“respect for democracy & support for participation in the democratic process”
Children, parents and staff are given many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Swanton Abbott Community Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of each 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 both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
“respect for the basis on which the law is made & applies in England”
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our country or our school, are referred to and actively reinforced: in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices in class or at play.
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 considered;
during other school activities, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in sports lessons, clubs and in the library.
“support & respect for the liberties of all within the law”
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.
“respect for & tolerance of different faiths & religious & other beliefs”
Swanton Abbott Community Primary is not in an area known for its cultural diversity, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Mutual respect is at the heart of our ethos and values: "to encourage co-operation with others & provide the atmosphere for a child to become independent and make decisions which do not impair the rights of other members of the school society" – and it’s the basis of our School Code, see above.
Our 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 Swanton Abbott Community Primary enhance pupil's 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 our theme and project work, where we celebrate and enjoy learning about differences in countries and cultures around the world.