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 by the Prime Minister this year. At St Thomas’ these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council and pupil questionnaires. The annual elections of the School Council are based solely on pupil votes. Our school behaviour policy involves rewards which the pupils have had an input in.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message. We even have a regular attending Police Officer every Friday and we run a cadet’s club in the afternoon.
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 choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through their choice in the level of challenge in their work, or their participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘respect’ and ‘equality’. Pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means. Respect is actively promoted through our PSHE curriculum; is embedded in our buddy groups, where older children actively develop supportive relationships with younger pupils; and is reiterated through our behaviour management strategy.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society, and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions are supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Visitors to the school have shared their experiences with the children.
Equal Opportunities Policy is also available.