British Values at St. Michael's
The Department for Education states there is a 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 Michael’s Junior School we promote and reinforce these values in the following ways:
Democracy is promoted through our school council system, whereby each class elects two representatives to act as their ‘voice’ on key school issues or developments, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. The School Council meets regularly, reports back to the class . These pupils have an influential role in decision making, such as organising fundraising activities for a range of charities. In addition to the School Council forum, children have many other opportunities throughout the school day for their voices to be heard.
School assemblies follow government guidelines and include all aspects of the British Values Agenda, including democracy, and the local and general elections when appropriate. Within class, circle time and similar strategies are used to discuss issues, enabling a democratic voice and resolving problems. Assemblies linked to debates in the news are led by children. Each individual child is then able to express their opinion through voting on the key question.
Each year the children decide upon their class rules. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the rules and are expected to promote them and adhere to 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 the regular school day and also through planned activities and assemblies. Class rules are created at the start of each academic year and these are displayed in class and referred to regularly. These are deeply embedded in our work every day and through our Behaviour Policy. Our pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities involved and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Fire Service; Local Church etc. are regular parts of our Assembly dates to reinforce this message.
In PE, in our Intra and Inter school competitions, the importance of rules and fair play is highlighted and enable the pupils to understand the need for rules beyond the immediate school context, as well as the importance of exercise as a healthy activity.
Our curriculum has been carefully designed so pupils develop skills that enable them to understand the way rules and laws were developed at specific times in history and how they reflected the values of the period. Our RE units of work allow pupils to learn about the fundamental rules and beliefs of all the major religions and focus on common areas and differences within them.
We educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and inspiring education, and actively encourage them to do so. Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely; examples of this can be clearly seen in our e-safety and P.S.H.E. lessons. Whether it is through choice of challenge; of how they record; of participation in our numerous extra-curricular activities; our pupils are given freedom of speech and the opportunity to make choices.
Assemblies are used to celebrate the community of St Michael’s Junior School and reflect the pride that can be felt in being a part of each different community, class, ‘house’ team and friendship communities that make up our diverse cultural community within the school.
Mutual respect is a key element of our Mission Statement which pupils, parents, staff and governors were fully involved in developing. It is deeply embedded in all that we do as a school. 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. Pupils learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and an impact on others. This value is woven into our assemblies as well as through the everyday curriculum planning. Children also take ownership of classroom rules at the start of each academic year.
The core value of respect at St Michael’s Junior School underpins our work every day both in and out of the classroom. For example, at competitive events, our pupils are expected to shake hands with opposing teams.
In class, pupils often take part in collaborative work where they have to work closely with others. In these situations, they listen, consider and respect each other’s opinions. They also take part in debates where they have to promote their ideas. However, they must consider others’ feelings also.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
We place a strong emphasis on celebrating diversity in all its forms. Our broad and balanced RE curriculum enables pupils to learn about and respect the beliefs of those from different religions. Learning about other beliefs and religions is further embedded though our assembly plan. Our curriculum actively plans for pupils to visit religious buildings to enhance their understanding of different faiths and beliefs through first-hand experiences. These include trips to a Sikh Gurdwara and the local Christian church. Members of different faiths or religions are also encouraged to visit our school and share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
We celebrate the similarities and differences between each other. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying are delivered and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Pupils also take part in Anti-Bullying Week during assemblies. Our pupils, staff and our community members re expected to be aware of, and actively discourage sexual, racial, gender or disability discrimination, both in school and the wider world. We celebrate the positive contributions that all people can make to our school and global community.
At St Michael’s Junior School, we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.