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, and these values have been reiterated this year (2014). At Holy Family these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Democracy is an important value at our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council. Every child on the student council is voted in by their class. Their representatives then feed back their classes views to the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. The children have regular meetings with the Deputy Head Teacher, and in the past have made great changes to the way our school works. See our latest work on our School Council Page. We also learnt about democracy and its application in real life, during our very own EU referendum. Children argued for and against leaving the European Union, before voting in a private booth.
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 regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. 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.
To encourage and promote good behaviour, attitude and work, we have devised a reward system which is consistently followed throughout the school. We are committed to praising children’s efforts. We endeavour to praise the children informally, individually, during group work, in front of the whole class and the whole school. Rewards are given in the form of stickers, team points, house points and certificates. Children’s achievements are also recognised during Celebration Assemblies. Visits from authorities such as the police, fire service etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Pupils are encouraged to be independent learners, constantly making choices, within a safe and supportive environment. Developing their self-esteem and self-confidence is very important. Pupils are encouraged to understand their personal freedoms and are taught how to use these rights to best effect. All pupils are keen to support charities, whether local, national or global. We have recently raised £580 for the Rosemere Cancer Trust, as led by our School Council. They are taught consideration for others through our Religious Education curriculum and PSHE lessons in particular. E-safety teaching enables them to make choices in a safe manner.
Our school’s ethos and behaviour policy are based on Gospel values, with our School motto being 'To love and care for each other as Jesus has taught us'. Assemblies constantly promote respect for others and the importance of good manners. All pupils are taught the importance of self-respect, honest and open communication with others and fair play. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. Pupils work collaboratively and value others’ opinions. Mutual respect is at the heart of our values.
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 in our local community which is by large white British. Collective Worship and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Our Religious Education curriculum provides pupils with a deep understanding of their own faith as well as awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities as a basis for understanding and respecting them. We use opportunities such as the Olympics and World Cup to study and learn about life and culture in Britain and other countries.
As a Catholic School we actively promote values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupils' character and moral perspective, 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. Through our RE, PSHE, SEAL, Geography and promoting The Common Good we are able to make real links between the values of our pupils and the lives of others in their community, country and the world in general. Through our Creative Curriculum we teach about democracy, civic responsibility, rules and laws, the monarchy, equality, values and virtues, environmental awareness and understanding of other faiths.
Mars class have made a short animation showing what they think democracy is.