In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least through our faith but also during our school assemblies and Religious Education. The values are integral to our mission statement which complements British values and always has done.
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.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values. The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at St. Joseph’s. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the Autumn term or our annual Christmas Nativity, We also value and celebrate national events.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our curriculum ensures that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
how ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and ‘the United Kingdom’
where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Historically: Our curriculum ensures that children learn about an aspect life and how this has developed and changed over time. Topics might include inventions and discoveries, or houses, or medicine.
Pupils have key roles and responsibilities in the school. Specifically, Years 5 and 6 pupils have roles to benefit the school community. These include monitor roles, play leaders, librarians and sport captains. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely. Whether it is through choice of: learning challenge, how they record, participation in extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our online Safety and PSHE lessons. Class councils are held regularly within each class and the school council is led by Mrs DeCarteret (deputy head teacher); all adhere to democratic processes. Our Mission statement embodies all that we do in our school.
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. We have a clearly structured behaviour policy which all stakeholders understand and follow. We review behaviour incidents in school.
At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own rules, a set of 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.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at St. Joseph’s. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Made up of two representatives from each year group (Years 1 to 6), the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school; in the past, the School Council has planned the playground markings and chosen charities to support.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
Children agree their rules and the rights associated with these; all children contribute to this
Pupil Questionnaires which provide the school leadership with analysis of how the children feel about school
Pupils respond to teachers marking throughout the school
Children chose various charities and fund raising events
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
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
St. Joseph’s is a Catholic school with the majority of children from a white British background. We have a growing number of children with Polish heritage and actively use school resources to promote their learning and integration into our school society It is therefore important that we reach out to other schools and communities to help educate our children in the different beliefs and faiths of others. As a Catholic School based in the Gospel Values mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, 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 should treat each other with respect. Public acknowledgements of all awards and achievements of the pupils gained from outside school activities.
We have been awarded the Race Equality Mark which is testament to the hard work of our children and staff.
Specific examples of how we at St. Joseph’s enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
through Religious Education, and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example
pupils visit a variety of places of worship to learn about world religions, faiths and cultures including Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam.
class teaching, assemblies, liturgy and prayer are regularly planned to celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the world.
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At St. Joseph’s such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our school policies.
Examples of Provision Maps for British Values
Twinning with St. Phillip's
Class 3 have been taking part in a twinning project organised by Building Bridges. As part of the project the children from St. Phillip's and St. Joseph's have been meeting to find out more about their respective schools.
Visit to Mosque - Reception and Year 1
As part of their learning on other faiths, Reception and Year 1 children visited the mosque in Nelson.
Class 5 have been taking part in the Building Bridges Pendle - Good Neighbours Project. The children have really enjoyed taking part in the workshops..