Promoting British Values in Whitfield St James’ CE (VC) Primary School
The Department for Education has stated that it expects ‘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.’
At Whitfield St James’ CE (VC) Primary School our values are reinforced regularly in the following ways:
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values and is strengthened by our Christian ethos. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. Members of the school community care for each other and seek the welfare of all.
Our school has its own School Council and the members are elected by their peers following hustings. Each class elects one member using traditional democratic measures: hustings, a campaign period and a secret ballot. Two pupils from the School Council attend cluster meetings with other schools in the area, known as the Pupil Forum.
We also hold elections for our House Captains who lead our house teams in internal sporting events such as sports days and football tournaments.
The children explore leadership and democracy through many curriculum areas including religious education and personal, social and health education (PSHE). This includes debating and learning about the power of speeches. We also look at the power of the media to sway people and influence opinion.
When there is a general election or referendum we teach the children the basics of the issues involved and relevant vocabulary before holding a secret ballot to model the democratic process.
The importance of rules
The importance of rules, whether they be those that govern groups, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout school life. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules as ways that protect us and those we live and work alongside. We emphasise the responsibilities and the consequences when rules and laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Individual liberty and mutual responsibility
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate children about making decisions and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely. Pupils are encouraged to know and understand their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these responsibly and safely, for example through our online safety and PSHE lessons. Pupils learn how to express, resolve and respect disagreements, and also about mutual responsibility and caring for others even when we may not share their views. They are also taught that with choice comes responsibility and consequences.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
We believe that those of other faiths and beliefs should be accepted and valued within our community; we place a great emphasis on developing the children’s understanding of diversity. Our curriculum includes stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures from our pupil’s earliest years. As the children grow older they study other faiths in more depth through our RE curriculum. Our PSHE teaching reinforces the importance of learning to understand and value others however different they may be from ourselves. Members of different faiths are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.