In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) sessions. The values are integral to our long-standing visual ethos statement which complements British values and always has done.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values. The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.
Church Of England
As a Church of England school, we re-enforce British Values every day through our collective worship which is strongly Christian. We have close links with our local churches and children experience British Christian church services throughout the school year.
Throughout our RE curriculum, we promote British Christian values and also educate our pupils about the other faiths and beliefs held by people from different countries. We believe the Christian distinctiveness of our Church School is strongly complemented by our inclusivity and celebration of all faiths.
Being Part of Britain
As a Victorian village school, we have a rich heritage entwined in local and National history.
We value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Bures. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival and the Christmas Nativity during the Autumn term and an Easter service in our local church in the Spring term.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives.
Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
- Geographically: Through our carefully planned schemes of work children learn about:
- its capital cities, counties and other geographical features such as its rivers and mountains;
- where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world.
- Historically: Through our history units we study aspects of our past and how this has developed our
country from Early Man to the Second World War. Every year we take part in the remembrance activities
encouraging our children to learn about the sacrifices made by our recent ancestors.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Bures. Democratic systems are central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote through a ballot system in each class. This leads to two elected representatives from each class. The School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council is able to genuinely effect change within the school; in the last year, the School Council has planned all of the charity spending and organised the charitable events held at the
school. The Council have been involved in the appointment of the new headteacher, their views being canvassed by members of the Governing Body who are on the Appointments Committee.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
- children agree their Class codes of conduct and the rights associated with these; all children contribute
to the drawing up of these codes;
- children are invited to have a say in what they are taught. Through shared planning activities, children
have an opportunity to direct how things are taught at Bures School.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
Rules and Law
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own set of class rules (Code of Conduct), a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
- visits from authorities such as the police and fire service;
- during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about;
- during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- choices about what learning challenge or activity;
- choices about how they record 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, such as in our e-safety and SEAL lessons.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Bures School is not in an area which is particularly culturally diverse so through units of work children learn to develop an understanding of and respect for a wide range of religious values, languages and cultural traditions and different ways of life. We actively promote respect for everyone and everything.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Bures School enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths
and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, SEAL and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation
of other cultures – in English through fiction and in art by considering culture from other parts of the
world, for example:
- themed activity days, for example, Chinese New Year and through parent and child PSHE workshops.