The Department for 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 have been reiterated in 2014.
This isn’t something new at Stoke Lodge Primary School and for many years we have been teaching these values through our curriculum and the daily life of the school.
Being Part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritage of everybody at Stoke Lodge Primary School. 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, Christmas and Diwali during the Autumn term.
Children also learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Our topics 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
Our children learn our island's story - and where our freedom and things like our Parliament and constitutional monarchy came from.
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: candidates make speeches; pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative; pupils vote using a ballot etc. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
- Active Travel Leaders
- Student Leaders
- Playground Buddies
- Sports Leaders
Pupils are 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. Circle Time is an effective tool that teachers use for children to discuss issues and resolve problems. We also encourage children 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.
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 set of 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.
We also have a set of school rules that promote positive behaviour and give examples of unacceptable behaviour.
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. We teach children what it means to be part of a community and have pride in that community whether that be family, school, local area or nationally. 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 they do,
- choices about how they record their learning,
- choices around their 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 and responsibly, such as in our e-safety and PSHE lessons.
Mutual Tolerance and Respect of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
At Stoke Lodge Primary School we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect is at the heart of our learning.
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 something else. 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 Stoke Lodge Primary School 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 – in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example Aboriginal and Chinese art,
- enjoying a depth of study during International Days, where we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the word,
- learning about other countries in more depth as part of their school class names.
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to these values. At Stoke Lodge Primary School, such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our Behaviour Policy.