The DfE 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."
At Goat Lees Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is a principle that we uphold in our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through class debates and discussions, our School Council and pupil questionnaires. Each class has a regular opportunity to share ideas and to contribute, with the class representative taking forward their views. Most recently, we have asked the children for their opinions on House/Team themes and the children in upper Key Stage 2 voted for the final four. Children will often be asked for their views through assemblies and also through involvement in the local community such as the recent consultation on the local play park.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Every year each class sets their rules and codes of conduct in the first week of term as part of their PHSE lesson. As they are included in setting them, children understand why the rules matter and also recognise the significance of not adhering to these agreed rules. 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. Goat Lees Primary School has been visited by The Deputy Lieutenant, George Jessel who made a presentation to the children about his role and the importance of British values.
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 are advised on how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. We provide a wide range of extra-curricular clubs and our school curriculum allows for opportunities for pupils to be given the freedom to make choices.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as 'Respect', and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school encourage positive behaviours and promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and Goat Lees rules, as well as our behaviour policy.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Many of our teaching staff have worked in schools across the country and are therefore able to bring a wealth of experience to the school in terms of understanding and promoting a diverse community.
Where possible we try to link social aspects of living in our country with topic or English themes. For example, in Year 5/6, the text focus was based on a street child and this sparked debate and enquiry about the issues related to homelessness. In KS 1, the topic 'Bang!' was the stimulus for campaigns across the School, culminating in children visiting the polling station and voting.
We run a programme of PSHE topics through assemblies and separate sessions and we communicate this to parents and carers through our fortnightly newsletter, termly class newsletters and our website. Our supportive school atmosphere means children are able to develop and express their own views and opinions whilst teaching them to respect the ideas and beliefs of their peers. Children are taught to be aware of and responsible for their own emotional responses and they learn how to express them healthily.
A key strength at Goat Lees Primary School is the relationship between all our staff and the pupils. We encourage mutual respect and this is evident every day in how we speak to each other and the relationships that we build with the children. Visitors to our school and members of the public, who see us out and about on the many trips we go on, comment positively.
Actively promoting British Values also means challenging pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including 'extremist' views.