Promoting British Values at Birches First School
The DfE have 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 in the 2014 Primary curriculum.
Here at Birches First School these values are regularly reinforced. We use strategies within the National curriculum and beyond to secure such outcomes for our children. The examples that follow show some of the many ways in which Birches First School seeks to embed British values –
We have our very own school council at Birches First School. The council includes two children from each year group (Reception to Year Three), and then six council members from Year Four. All of the children from Year Four are voted in by their class. The school council meets on a regular basis to discuss school and community issues. This allows the children to have an influence upon both. The council members feedback on discussions to their class and take back any new points of business to the next meeting.
Through our curriculum children are taught about, and encouraged to respect, public institutions and services.
Daily discussions ensure that children are regularly asked for their opinions and feedback. This is also done through surveys, school council meetings and as part of school monitoring and evaluation systems (e.g pupil interviews etc).
Pupils are selected at random for pupil meetings with members of the senior leadership team to seek their views and opinions on a range of school and community issues.
Teachers model and invite children to share in the democratic process and embed this through the curriculum and organisation of school life, e.g choosing some of the topics which are part of their curriculum and choosing table names with in the classroom.
All parents, carers and children are invited to share their views on school and community issues. This is done through questionnaires, surveys, PFA meetings and parent meetings.
The principle of democracy is also explored in the History and Religious Education curriculum as well as in class time and assemblies.
• The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced at Birches First School. They are reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. The concept of the Rule of Law is also reinforced through teaching activities.
Pupils are taught as soon as they enter Nursery the rules of the school. The children know these as ‘The Golden Rules’. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. We have had visits from the Police Community Support Officer to reinforce this message.
Pupils are taught that rules are applied consistently to all and that we are all expected to follow the Birches First School ‘Golden Rules’ which are positive statements about the community we want our children to learn and thrive within.
• Individual Liberty
Pupils at Birches First School are encouraged to make choices and they do so knowing that they are in a happy, safe and supportive environment. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our eSafety and PSHCE work. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices through means such as choice of challenge, how they record and lunch options.
We educate and provide boundaries for our pupils to make informed choices, through a safe environment and an empowering education.
Birches First School has a zero-tolerance to bullying policy and any disputes. This policy can be viewed in full on this website. All fall outs or upsets are taken seriously, dealt with swiftly and investigated fully. Rigorous Behaviour and Safety policies support our children to be independent and responsible.
• Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Mutual respect is an important belief and value at Birches First School. Children are taught that their behaviours effect their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect and dignity.
Mutual respect and tolerance is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. We follow the Staffordshire Agreed syllabus for RE and use the SEAL materials to enhance PSHCE teaching. These teach children about other faiths and cultures and provide children with opportunities to learn from as well as about the communities that make up Britain.
We actively celebrate and encourage the sharing of diversity and want our children to value similarities and differences within our community. An example of this is our Arts Week where we have invited people from the local community in to teach the children bhangra dancing.
Birches First School provides opportunities for the children to investigate places of significant cultural interest, places of worship and we actively encourage visitors from a range of communities and organisations into school.
Children are encouraged to, and regularly support charities. They plan fundraising and raise awareness to support charities. These have included Water Aid, Children in Need, Comic Relief, Jeans for Genes and UNICEF.
As well as respecting each other we also teach the children to respect our environment. We have an Eco committee and we try to make our school as sustainable and as environmentally friendly as possible.
Respect has been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. These ideas are reiterated through the school and classroom rules, as well as our behaviour policy.