Promoting British Values
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. At St. Joseph’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a School Council which meets weekly to discuss issues raised by different children via the School Council suggestion box. The School Council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school. Two of the three council members for each year group are voted in by their class.
Our School Chaplaincy Team also provides further opportunities for pupil voice to be heard and their work is invaluable in supporting our Catholic ethos and promoting Christian values.
Our News Group meets weekly to discuss issues/ideas that have been raised in their sessions and there are often shared with their lasses/the whole school as appropriate.
Various pupil questionnaires are completed in which the children are able to put forward their views about the school.
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 and Sainsbury’s Road Safety Team help reinforce these messages. Year 6 also attend the ‘Crucial Crew’ at Hertfordshire Regional College whereby they learn about the importance of following various rules/laws to ensure their own personal safety and that of others.
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 safety, through of 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 Policy and various themed weeks as part of our Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural calendar. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities or which school meals they opt for each day, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
As a faith community, mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect as we actively encourage children to live out our Mission Statement of ‘we live, love and learn by the example of Jesus’ on a daily basis. Posters around the school (including the Chaplaincy Team’s ‘Thought For The Week’ promote respect for others and this is reiterated through all Collective Acts Of Worship, assemblies (both Key Stage and Whole School), and our Behaviour Policy. The children have been involved in creating our own ‘Ten Commandments’ which further promote mutual respect and understanding.
Tolerance Of Those Of Different Faiths And Beliefs
St. Joseph’s is situated in an area of an increasingly diverse cultural nature, although as a Catholic school we are fully aware of the importance of promoting tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE teaching also reinforces this, with two weeks given to the study of two other faiths (Judaism and Sikhism) in some detail. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
At St. Joseph’s we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.