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.”
At St John’s, these values are taught explicitly through our Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) and Religious Education (RE) curriculums. We also teach the British Values through our International Primary Curriculum (IPC) which ensures the children are receiving a broad, balanced and global curriculum. The British Values are also reinforced regularly during the school day and through our Value of the Month which is celebrated through assemblies and classroom activities.
Democracy is an important value at our school and children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern for each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. The elections of members of the School council and of Year 6 House Captains are based on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. The School Council meets regularly with the Deputy Head to discuss issues raised by the children, and as an elected body, discuss how the Council will work to address the issues.
At St John’s we ensure that the children feel valued and have the opportunity to voice their opinions. For example, Governors take the time to speak with the children to hear the children’s thoughts and ideas about different aspects of school life. Moreover, subject leaders within the school also talk to groups of children about their subject to hear the views of children in terms of what helps them to learn and which types of activities motivate and excite them.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is consistently reinforced throughout regular school days. Our ‘School Rules’ are displayed in every classroom and are rules which were created by the children through their School Council. These ‘Golden Rules’ are deeply embedded in our work every day. Within the classroom, a behaviour ladder is used, which uses hierarchical consequences, if children do not follow the rules of the classroom. It is essential that children understand why we have rules and laws within our society. For this reason, through our PSHE lessons children 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.
As a school we strive to support children to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and selfconfidence. We encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour, as well as knowing their rights. 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 safely, through provision of a safe environment and a challenging curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. As much as possible, our pupils are given the freedom to make choices, for example, through choice of learning challenge, of how they record or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities.
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. Respect is one of our Values of the Month, so is central to the core values and ethos of our school, and underpins our work every day both in and out of the classroom. The pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Tolerance plays a central role in our school’s core values and ethos. We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. We also address issues involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying through assemblies and class discussions during RE and PSHE lessons. 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 and we participate in celebrations such as Diwali.