The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and these values were reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2014. The Department for Education states that there is a 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 term ‘British values’ might be controversial for some; the values that we promote are certainly not unique to Britain. We fully acknowledge that they are no different from the values of many other countries and cultures. As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite is also true: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Although this agenda is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new at Holy Trinity Pewley Down School. In fact, the British values defined by the government reinforce and complement our school values that are already an embedded part of our assemblies, teaching and learning and school life in general. British values are promoted in so much of what we do at HTPD School and they are regularly reinforced. Some examples are listed below:
We have a responsibility to teach our children about the fundamental principles of democracy and its place in British society. This is achieved through school processes which model this principle:
- Election of house team captains
- Election of school councillors
- The use of the school council to discuss issues that the children consider to be important
- Class discussions about the issues arising from school council meetings
- Dealing with social issues through class discussions and majority decisions
- Class charters
- Circle time and Thoughtful Time
- Voting in class to express preferences about topic choices, class reading books and learning strategies, developing pupils’ independence and time management strategies
Democracy is also covered through the curriculum for PSHE. Current affairs, including the impact of the democratic right to vote, are also included in both whole school and year group assemblies.
The Rule of Law
All adults at Holy Trinity Pewley Down, whether senior leaders, teachers, support staff or governors, have a duty to protect children from harm and promote British Law and British Values.
The school has a crucial part to play in providing a positive role model for all children and to build positive links with our local community. As a church school, we must fulfil our duty to promote community cohesion, champion democratic values and fundamental human rights. Critical to this role is the specific focus needed to support our most vulnerable pupils and those at risk of isolation within our community.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, their crucial role in keeping us safe, the responsibilities that this involves, and the consequences when laws are broken. The ‘rule of law’ underpins our uniform and behaviour management policies and complements our ‘Restorative Approaches’ strategy. As a school, we have high expectations of all members of our school community.
These values are reinforced in different ways:
- Visits from authorities, for example the police and the fire service
- When rules for particular faiths are explored during RE lessons
- During other lessons, such as PE, where there is a respect and appreciation for rules
- Learning road safety rules during PSHE lessons and Bikeability training
- Emphasising the importance of our behaviour guidelines during trips and for e-safety
- Individual Liberty
Alongside rules and laws, we promote individual freedom of choice and the children’s right to respectfully express their views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive and empowering environment, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make safe and responsible choices; for example:
- Choices about their learning challenges or activities, including the infant school ‘discovery time’
- Choices about how they record their learning and the strategies that they use during lessons
- Promoting healthy lifestyle choices with the lunchtime salad bar and sports clubs
- Choices around their participation in other extra-curricular activities
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms. They are taught how to exercise these safely, such as the ground rules that are explained and agreed as part of our e-safety and PSHE lessons.
HTPD is committed to helping our children to understand what the key features of a healthy, positive environment are and to enable their individual freedoms to be maintained and respected. Our assemblies promote this. Furthermore, children’s individual achievements, ranging from sport to smaller personal goals, are celebrated in assemblies to instil in them a sense of worth and create ambitious pupils who believe in themselves.
At HTPD, we encourage mutual respect between children, staff and parents. The way that students treat each other as people is a firm foundation for a healthy life at school, at home and in their community. We promote and reward this in many and diverse ways, including house points and headteacher awards, as well as through the junior citizenship trip in Year 6.
By emphasising and modelling empathy, good character and other important life skills, we constantly strive to create well-rounded and thoughtful students. We value each other as unique and special individuals; we celebrate diversity and encourage our community to celebrate different cultures and beliefs.
All members of the school community are encouraged to use good manners, saying ‘please,’ ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’; we always allow others to go first. At HTPD, we do not use put downs or make fun of other people. The children are also encouraged to consider the potential impact and e-safety implications of promoting rumours and posting unkind comments on social media.
We develop mutual respect by being a close community where we celebrate each other’s successes, acknowledging and supporting the accomplishments of others, including through peer feedback activities. We encourage our students to ‘look out’ for other members of the school community, creating helpful and generous characters.
HTPD School is proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Tolerance, inclusiveness and mutual respect are at the heart of our aims and ethos. Our value of “Imagining the journey in another’s footsteps” drives us towards ensuring that our pupils are able to live and work alongside people from all backgrounds and cultures.
Specific examples of how we enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- Through RE where they develop an awareness and appreciation of other religions
- Through Geography, comparing and contrasting the children’s familiar localities with other communities around the world
- Celebrating difference and diversity through specific PSHE lessons
- Using multicultural resources and considering communities from other parts of the world in lessons across the curriculum, particularly English, Art and Music
- Engaging in Erasmus+ and e-twinning projects to partner with schools across Europe
- Celebrating differences through assemblies and our ‘International Days’ in the summer term
- Our ongoing partnership with schools across Europe as part of the Erasmus+ project
- Providing opportunities for children to share their experiences of different countries and cultures
- The home school link workers run targeted social skills groups which helps to develop children’s empathy
Our pupils know and understand that we expect respect to be 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.