The Government have emphasised the important role that British values can play in education.
Although this is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new for us at Southery Academy. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our assemblies, R.E lessons and PSHE curriculum.
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 term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries, for example.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Southery. 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 during the Autumn term, and what could be more British than a trip to a pantomime around Christmas time!
Geographically: We ensure that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
- its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
- how ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and ‘the United Kingdom’
- where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Historically: Children learn about how life and has developed in Britain and changed over time. The actual topics depends on the interests of the children (and teacher!), but might include inventions and discoveries, or houses, or medicine.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Southery Primary. Democracy is 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 vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes.
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 hightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
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. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own class rules, 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 PSHE lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Southery Academy is not in an area which is greatly culturally diverse and we aim to expose our children at any opportunity to other faiths and beliefs.
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 Southery Academy enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – for example, in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world
- enjoying a depth of study during 'themed weeks', where we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the word