The Department for Education have recently emphasised the important role that British values can play in education and 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 were reiterated in 2014. At Brayton Primary British Values are promoted in much of what we do, during school worships, Religious Education sessions and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). The values are also integral to our vision and values as a church school.
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.
The British values we promote are not unique to Britain. We acknowledge that they differ in no way from the values of the countries and the cultural backgrounds represented by families at Brayton Primary.
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.
Being Part of Britain
As a church school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Brayton Primary. Alongside this, we value and celebrate living in, and being part of, Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions and customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest Festival during the autumn term; Remembrance Day; our annual church carol service and infant nativity at Christmas; Easter, etc. We also value and celebrate national events such as royal celebrations, a general election and a recent example being our Armistice Service, which was conducted at the village memorial (at which the local Councillors joined us along with members of the public)
Children also learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives. Children are taught about these heritage sites. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our rivers, coasts and seaside holiday topics ensure that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
- its coasts, rivers and mountains
- where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Historically: Key moments in British history are studied in the topics such as the Great Fire of London, the sinking of the Titanic, World War 2 and significant historical figures such as Guy Fawkes, the Royal Family and Prime Ministers.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Brayton Primary School. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our structure of Class Councils. Each class elects its own Class Council Chairperson reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. In KS2 interested children write their own speeches persuading others in their class to vote for them. Children are elected fairly and pupils are able to consider characteristics important for an elected representative; pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Class Councils meet regularly to discuss issues raised by class members. Representatives from classes meet with the Council Lead to discuss ideas and suggestions brought forward.
Pupils have been actively involved in staff recruitment and regularly put forward suggestions to the PTA on how to spend its funds. Elected pupils are enthusiastically involved in the School Meal Interest Group putting forward suggestions for the improvement of school meals and lunchtime routines.
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.
Parents’ opinions are welcomed at Brayton Primary through methods such as questionnaires and surveys and working groups for areas such as anti-bullying and food education. There are also opportunities to comment on our school website and Facebook page.
Rules and Laws
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. Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school. At the start of the school year, each class discusses the school rules and class routines, 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
To encourage and promote good behaviour, attitude and work, we have devised a reward system which is consistently followed throughout the school. We are committed to praising children’s efforts. We endeavour to praise the children informally, individually, during group work, in front of the whole class and the whole school.
Children are rewarded not only for achievement in curriculum areas, but for behaviour and general adherence to the school rules. Rewards are given in the form of Star Behaviour star stickers, raffle tickets, with children receiving and achievements are recognised during our weekly awards assembly and our Playtime Leaders also encourage the behaviours expected throughout the school.
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, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely. For example:
- choices about what learning challenge or activity they will complete
- choices about how they record their learning
- choices about which ideas they vote for in class council
- choice regarding the school lunch menu
- 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 circle time lessons. They also understand that with rights come responsibilities.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Brayton Primary serves an area which has some culturally diverse and we are proud to promote and celebrate different backgrounds and beliefs of our diverse country. Tolerance, politeness and mutual respect are at the heart of our aims and ethos. As a church school we work actively to promote this ethos when working closely with individuals, families and groups from other faiths.
Our pupils live and work alongside people from all backgrounds, with some from different cultures. This is particularly necessary in a future where due to technological advances will make the ‘world a smaller place.’
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.
Specific examples of how we at Brayton Primary School enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, and other lessons where we develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures including learning about places of worship that are important to different faiths
- in English through fiction
- in art and music by considering cultures from other parts of the world
- across the curriculum, providing pupils with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view in English, history, geography, digital literacy etc
- celebrating cultural differences through class learning, worships, noticeboards and displays.
Whilst instances contrary to our values are relatively rare, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are in conflicting with our values. Each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.
From 1 July 2015 the Prevent duty became law. This is a duty on all schools and registered early years providers to have due regard to preventing people being drawn into terrorism. In order to protect children in our care, we must be alert to any reason for concern in the child’s life at home or elsewhere. This includes awareness of the expression of extremist views. The school staff have received Prevent training.
For parents and carers, this quick list may be of some help.
Potential indicators of radicalisation or extremism in children / teenagers:
- Possesses unexplained gifts and clothing – groomers will sometimes use gifts such as mobile phones or expensive trainers to bribe a young person.
- Sudden or gradual change in physical appearance. Changing their style of dress to accord with a group.
- Sudden or unexpectedly wearing religious attire. Possession of materials or symbols associated with an extremist cause.
- Starts to become socially withdrawn / refusal to co-operate.
- Pupil visiting extremist websites, networks and blogs.
Please click on the link below to download the Government’s advice about the Prevent Duty: