The Department for Education emphasise the important role that British values can play in education and have stated 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 were reiterated in 2014. At Welholme Academy British Values are promoted in much of what we do, during school assemblies, Religious Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) sessions. The values are also integral to our vision and values.
As well as actively promoting British Values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.
The British values we promote are not unique to Britain. We acknowledge that they differ in no way from the values of the many countries and the cultural backgrounds represented by families at the school.
Being Part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Welholme Academy. Alongside this, we value and celebrate living in, and being part of, Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions and customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest Festival during the autumn term; Remembrance Day; our infant nativity at Christmas; Easter, etc. We also value and celebrate national events such as royal celebrations, a general election, etc.
Children also learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives. Specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: We ensure that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about its coasts, rivers and mountains: where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world.
Historically: Key moments in British history are studied in the topics such as the Great Fire of London and significant historical figures such Guy Fawkes and Grace Darling. Our timeline includes key events of British history.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Welholme Academy. Democracy is central to how we operate. This includes:
- Voting – for example school council and eco council
- Looking at how democracy started in Ancient Greece
- Pupil voice meetings
- Staff and parent surveys
Pupils are always 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. We encourage pupils 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
Rules and the function they serve are key to helping children understand how society works. The children need to be aware of this in order to become successful members of society We develop their understanding in various ways:
- The development of rules and the purpose they serve is explored through looking at school rules, class rules, PE rules, e-safety rules, etc.
- Visits from authority figures and key services such as the police and fire service
- The rules followed by different faith groups
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. Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school. At the start of the school year, each class discusses the school rules and class routines, 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.
Children are rewarded not only for achievement in curriculum areas, but for behaviour and general adherence to the school or class rules. Rewards are given in the form certificates and badges/pins. Children’s achievements are recognised during our weekly ‘Star of the Week’ assembly.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely. For example:
- Discussions and debates within the curriculum
- Managing their own behaviour and making good choices
- The freedom to make choices around voting for the school councillors
- 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, such as in our e-safety and PSHE lessons. They also understand that with rights come responsibilities.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Welholme serves an area which is not culturally diverse. It is therefore essential that we promote and celebrate different backgrounds and beliefs. Tolerance, politeness and mutual respect are all important. This is achieved by:
- Ensuring an understanding and appreciation of other faiths in RE
- Celebrating difference – for example in anti-bullying week
- Discussion in PSHE lessons
- Celebrating diversity and cultural differences in assemblies
- Looking at a range of celebrations and festivals such as Harvest, Easter, Diwali, etc.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone and to everything, whatever differences we may have. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are encouraged to treat each other with respect.
Whilst instances contrary to our values are relatively rare, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to our values. Each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.