Promoting British Values at St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School. The DfE have recently 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 this year (2014). At St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter. We have a student council which meets every month with the Head Teacher to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The children have a responsibility for monitoring that lessons are good in school, as well as the usual fund raising activities. Every child on the student council is voted in by their class. Children have an annual questionnaire where they are able to put forward their views about the school.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is consistently reinforced at St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School. Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school. These are our School Rules, Playground Rules and Safety 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message. The children also have the opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament with our local MP Siobhan McDonough in Year 6.
At St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary 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 informed choices. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to implement these safely, for example through our eSafety and PSHE lessons.
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. Our Golden Rules reads: We respect each other and others property.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
St Thomas of Canterbury is a diverse school. We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education lessons and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. The children enjoy a depth of study during Themed Weeks, where sometimes we will celebrate and learn about the differences in countries and cultures around the word. The children also visit places of worship that are important to different faiths and church leaders from other faiths are invited into school. Annually we have an International Day which is enjoyed by children, staff and parents.
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views, such instances are extremely rare and will be treated seriously in line with our Policy.