Promoting British Values at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School
The Department of Education 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 were reiterated in 2014.
As a Catholic School we actively promote values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupils’ characters and moral perspectives, through the teachings of the Church. We are confident that our continued focus on the Gospel Values will give our pupils the necessary awareness of what it means to be a good citizen in Britain today, and embed in them the building blocks of a future successful and productive life. At St Mary’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Each year the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of these rules. Every child on the School Learning Council is voted in by their class. Children are able to put forward their views about the school and there are regular School Learning Council meetings.
The Rule of Law
The importance of rules/ laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced in one form or another in school on a daily basis and further reinforced through dealing with specific examples of poor behaviour, school assemblies and interactions with parents. Within school we prominently display our school values on which the school rules are based.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules/laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when rules/laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through PSHE lessons and sessions on E-Safety. Whether it is through choice of learning challenge or success criteria, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Mutual respect is given high priority in school and promoted through a range of class based and whole school means. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. This is supported by our very clear behaviour policy. All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect and be polite. Older children are encouraged to debate from different points of view.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
St Mary’s is a diverse school and our community comes from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school and the children learn about and where possible visit, places of worship that are important to different faiths.
At St Mary’s we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views. We will also challenge racism and expect everyone within our community to respect British laws whilst supporting their own culture.