In November 2014, the Department for Education published guidance on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.
“…to ensure children become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance, regardless of background…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.” Lord Nash, 2014
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School these values are reinforced regularly, through staff training and in the following ways:
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. Pupil questionnaires are regularly completed in which the children are able to put forward their views about relevant issues. There are many opportunities for pupils to participate in elections, to select or nominate individuals for a variety of different positions held within the school. (i.e. Eco Warriors, Young Speaker Challenge representatives, St Joseph’s Got Talent etc)
Within school, 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 for young pupils to make the correct choices safely through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedom. They are provided with advice on how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety Policy and various themed days, i.e. Anti-slavery workshops. Pupils are provided with many opportunities to make independent choices, i.e. chili challenges, use of technology and other resources and participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced. 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. All children are aware of our school rules and expectations for behaviour and as a result behaviour is a key strength across the school. Visits from the Police, Fire Service etc. are embedded in our practice and help reinforce this message. in Year 6 all pupils attend the annual Junior Citizenship event where strong relationships with some of these services are reinforced.
As a Catholic faith community, mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn their behaviours have an impact on themselves and others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect as we actively encourage children to live out our Mission Statement of “To Learn, Love and Grow with God at the Centre” on a daily basis. This is promoted through staff modelling the behaviour, RE lessons, assemblies, Prayer services, class circle time and pupils are encouraged to show respect to all members of our school & Parish community.
Tolerance of Those With Different Faiths And Beliefs
The local area surrounding St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School is socially, ethnically and culturally diverse. As a Catholic school we are fully aware of the importance of promoting tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs, in Autumn and Summer term there are two themed weeks; Judaism and Islam to reflect two of the larger faith groups within the local area. Our RE teaching also reinforces this, with two weeks given to the study of two other faiths (Judaism and Islam) in some detail. Members of different faiths or religions (including staff members) are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths. In our library we also provide reading material on other faiths.
At St. Joseph’s we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.