At St John’s, we develop and promote British Values within our curriculum and throughout our School. British Values play a vital role in education and run hand-in-hand with our own School Values that are encompassed within the Christian Ethos of the School.
In line with the Department For Education’s five point definition, we promote the following British Values at St John’s CE Primary School:
- Rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
At St John’s, we aim to enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence as well as enabling students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England. We wish to 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. We endeavour to enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England and further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures. Furthermore, we strive to 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.
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody – staff, parents and children – at St John’s. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. Because of this, we celebrate traditions and customs throughout the course of the year. These traditions are exemplified by the Harvest Festival and Remembrance Service during the Autumn term right through to the Sports Day in the Summer term. We also value and celebrate national focuses, such as Anti-Bullying week, Children in Need, Safer Internet Day and many more.
In addition to this, children learn about being part of Britain from other different perspectives, including geographically and historically. The children will learn about where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world, gain a knowledge of capital and major cities as well as learning more about coasts, rivers and mountains across a range of topics such as rivers and the seaside. Our children will also explore topics that expose them to key moments in British history and the importance and relevance of these and also identify significant historical figures.
At St John’s, we are certain that the active promotion of British Values allows the children to develop a sense of community and begin to develop their understanding of their role and responsibilities within it. Daily assemblies, whether whole school or classroom based, promote these values.
Democracy is central to how we operate. Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at St John’s.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates apply for their role, make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative and pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes. Made up of one representative from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own budget and is able to effect change within the school. The Council are actively involved in providing teachers with feedback. Weekly, children participate in Votes for Schools, where they are able to vote on a specific topical issue that week. There are many examples of democratic action throughout school, such as voting on how children should present their work to which sports equipment is used at break and lunch times. The opinions of parents are welcomed at St John’s through methods such as questionnaires, surveys at parent’s evenings and opportunities to comment on whole school matters.
Rule of law
Our pupils will encounter rules and laws throughout their lives. The importance of rules and laws are referred to and regularly reinforced. We want our pupils to understand that whether these laws govern the class, the school, the neighbourhood or the country, they are set for good reasons and must be adhered to. Reinforcement through assemblies, in classes, around the school and through our curriculum help the children gain an understanding behind the rules and the consequences if they are broken. These British Values, Rule of law in particular, can be reinforced during the year through visits from authorities such as the police and fire service and also during bikeability and RE lessons and visits. Child-led leadership roles, such as school council, safety patrol, play leaders etc also help to embed a greater understanding of rule of law.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. At St John’s, we invest a great deal of time in creating a positive culture so that the children are in a safe environment where choices and freedoms are encouraged and valued. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- choices about how they can improve their learning
- choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely. Being able to make choices freely are exemplified perfectly in Year 5 and 6, where children are given the opportunity to apply for key roles and responsibilities, such as safety patrol, play leaders, prefects and. Roles, such as school council and eco warriors, can be also be applied for in other year groups. We believe, that valuing choice and freedom in daily school life will foster a value for individual liberty as the children embark upon their adult lives.
Mutual respect is at the core of our school life. The children learn to treat each other and staff with great respect. We have high expectations of achievement and behaviour. Children and staff are polite and kind. We believe everyone has their own special gifts and we are expected to use them. We listen and respect each other. We teach the children that conflict will be dealt with calmly and fairly. All members of the school family are valued equally. This is evident when walking around the school and in the classrooms, where children showcase their work. We celebrate each other’s achievements whether that be in or out of school through in celebration assemblies and newsletters home. Through Equality and Diversity Days, E-Safety Days and Anti-Bullying week, the children are taught to value differences in themselves and others and most importantly to show respect to all.
Tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs
We are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Tolerance, politeness and mutual respect are present throughout the curriculum – particularly RE – but are woven into the ethos and values of the schools.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone and to everything, whatever differences we may have. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are encouraged to treat each other with respect. Through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons, we develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures. For example, in English lessons, children will look at texts from different cultures in other parts of the world. Along with this, children will celebrate cultural differences through assemblies, themed weeks, and votes for schools sessions. Children are encouraged to share their own experiences when celebrating their own faith. Daily worship reflects and teaches the children tolerance for different faiths and beliefs. We have our St John’s prayer and hymn which the children collaborated on and which encompasses a shared belief and value.
At St John’s, our children feel their voice is valued within school. Children actively engage in voting opportunities, understanding its importance and worth. Children understand the value of letting others have their say and respecting their opinions and views. Children can articulate the value of rules within school and without. Children demonstrate understanding by consistently following school behaviour expectations in a range of contexts. Individual and class rewards and sanctions are based around our school rules which are displayed throughout the school. Children have an increasing understanding of how laws are made, who makes them and for what purpose. The children are taught to recognise their worth as individuals in preparation for adult life. Children can articulate why respect is important throughout school and within the wider community. Our children appreciate the range of national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom. Hold an awareness that differences and similarities between people arise from a number of factors, including cultural, ethnic, racial and religious diversity, gender and disability.