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.”
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, these values were reiterated in 2014. At Stowting, British Values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways are woven into our children’s teaching.
Stowting is a truly democratic school. Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in school / class. The council is able to genuinely effect change within the school; in fact, it decides the annual charity the school supports and has recently voted on the changes to the school anti-bullying & behaviour policies. Two school council members for each year group are voted in by their class after they have held hustings to promote their case. Each year the children decide upon their own class rules / charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter and vote on which rules to include.
Pupil voice is regularly sought by the head teacher & acted upon.
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 collective worship. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, which are there to govern and also protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. At Stowting, participation in this is actively encouraged - in the past, Stowting pupils have persuasively lobbied Shepway Council, resulting in a successful change to Shepway policy on grass verge planting to favour pollen gathering insects. Adults in school are also bound by the same rules and laws as the children, modelling good practice as well as explaining it. As a Church School, children are shown early on that all laws in the United Kingdom actually have their roots in the Ten Commandments.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we teach the value of and provide boundaries for pupils to make choices safely. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to do this safely, for example through our Kent Police led E-Safety days. Whether it is through the choice of learning, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs, pupils are constantly given the freedom to make choices.
As a Church School, mutual respect is at the heart of our Christian Values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. We promote the value of the individual and individuality. All members of the school community treat each other with respect; this applies to adults as well as children. We may not always agree with another’s opinion, but we know that we should respect this. We have weekly certificate presentations for those who have demonstrated our Christian Values in school, often the individual has been recommended by a pupil.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Stowting is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse; therefore we place a great emphasis on explaining and showing diversity to the children. (Especially prior to transition to secondary school). As part of this aim we have recently made links to St Thomas CEP school close to the Portobello Road in West London and will be visiting with pupils and staff. Collective Worship is regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE curriculum teaching also reinforces this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.