Promoting British Values

Introduction

 

All maintained schools must meet the requirements set out in section 78 of the Education Act 2002 and promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of their pupils. Through ensuring pupils’ SMSC development, schools can also demonstrate they are actively promoting fundamental British values.

Meeting requirements for collective worship, establishing a strong school ethos supported by effective relationships throughout the school, and providing relevant activities beyond the classroom are all ways of ensuring pupils’ SMSC development.

Pupils must be encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.

It is expected that pupils should understand that while different people may hold different views about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, all people living in England are subject to its law. The school’s ethos and teaching, which schools should make parents aware of, should support the rule of English civil and criminal law and schools should not teach anything that undermines it. If schools teach about religious law, particular care should be taken to explore the relationship between state and religious law. Pupils should be made aware of the difference between the law of the land and religious law.

 Fundamental British values

Schools should promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs1. This can help schools to demonstrate how they are meeting the requirements of section 78 of the Education Act 2002, in their provision of SMSC. 

Actively promoting the values means challenging opinions or behaviours in school that are contrary to fundamental British values. Attempts to promote systems that undermine fundamental British values would be completely at odds with schools’ duty to provide SMSC. The Teachers’ Standards expect teachers to uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school. This includes not undermining fundamental British values.

 Through their provision of SMSC, schools should:

       enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;

       enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;

       encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;

       enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;

       further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;

       encourage respect for other people; and 

       encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England. 

The list below describes the understanding and knowledge expected of pupils as a result of schools promoting fundamental British values. 

       an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;

       an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;

       an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;

       an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;

       an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; and 

       an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination. 

It is not necessary for schools or individuals to ‘promote’ teachings, beliefs or opinions that conflict with their own, but nor is it acceptable for schools to promote discrimination against people or groups on the basis of their belief, opinion or background. 

Examples of actions that we take at St. Margaret’s to achieve the above attitudes and understanding for our children:

       include in suitable parts of the curriculum, as appropriate for the age of pupils, material on the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries;

       ensure that all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrate how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes such as the election of the head boy and head girl and other pupil leaders through processes mirroring that of local and general elections. This provides opportunities for pupils to learn how to argue and defend points of view 

       use teaching resources from a wide variety of sources to help pupils understand a range of faiths and beliefs particularly through our Religious Education programme which has high status in our church school.

In addition we have:

  • An explicit set of Christian values that are understood and shared by all the school community, that underpin the life of our school and form the backbone of our Collective Worship Programme
  • Strong link with the local churches – C of E, Baptist
  • A strong culture of charity, home and abroad
  • A culture in which everyone is valued and everyone is respected
  • An acceptance of and exploration of differing views in curriculum opportunities
  • An admission policy that welcomes families of all faiths
  • An annual multi-faith week with visits and visitors from a range of faith groups
  • A commitment to the teaching of PSHE and Citizenship
  • An established programme of sex and relationships education
  • A curriculum that promotes questioning, collaboration and independence
  • An explicit policy of inclusion and equal opportunities
  • Robust and explicit safeguarding policies and procedures
  • A robust anti-bullying policy
  • Explicit approach to tackling homophobic bullying
  • Involvement of all stakeholders in determining rules, aims, values
  • Partnership with local police officers
  • Involvement of community workers in the curriculum – police, fire, Post Office, NHS etc.
  • Engagement with the PREVENT agenda as appropriate
  • Celebration of national events – remembrance, anniversaries, Guy Fawkes, St. George’s Day etc.
  • A behaviour policy that is based on forgiveness and restoration 

As a result of the above: 

  • Children of all backgrounds play and learn harmoniously together
  • Children of all backgrounds learn well and are supported to overcome any barriers to learning
  • They are respectful of faith and belief
  • They are supportive of one another
  • Children readily resolve differences and seek and offer forgiveness when mistakes are made
  • They have a strong sense of right and wrong and fairness
  • They readily ask questions and listen to alternative views
  • Racial or homophobic incidents are very rare
  • The school feels like a caring family and is therefore highly oversubscribed

In the 2016/17 school improvement plan the following contribute to this area of work:

  • Strengthen Pupil Leadership
  • Utilisation  of prayer spaces for people of all faiths and no faith
  • Implementation of Jigsaw PSHE programme
  • Collective Worship and RE
  • Stonewall training