Promoting British Values
In June 2014, the UK Government emphasised the important role that British Values can play in education.
It has now become essential for schools to promote British Values, and is an aspect that is assessed during an Ofsted inspection.
Although they are termed 'British Values', the values we promote are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries. British Values include celebrating national events, ensuring democracy, reinforcing British rules and laws, and empowering individual liberty.
These values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies and Religious Education lessons.
As well as actively promoting British values, we would actively challenge pupils, staff, or parents, for expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views. For example:
Schools are subject to a duty (Section 26, Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015) to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty. At the foot of this page there is some information to support parents in discussions about extremism and preventing radicalisation.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Langmoor. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions and customs during the course of the year; for example, Remembrance during the autumn term.
Children will learn about being part of Britain through our curriculum in various ways. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our Geography topic at Langmoor 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: The main focus during our History lessons is British history. Children will learn about different periods of British history, and look at different aspects of life and how it has developed and changed over time; this might include inventions and discoveries, or houses, or medicine.
Children, parents, and staff, have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Langmoor. Democracy is central to how we operate.
One 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. The School Council, made up of two representatives from each class, meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own budget and is able to effect changes within the school.
Pupils are always listened to by adults, and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other. We respect 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 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
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and often reinforced, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Class Rules - a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and 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:
- Regular visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
- During Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are discussed
- During other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example.
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 and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- Choices about what learning challenge or activity they want to do
- Choices about how they record their learning
- Choices around the 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 lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Langmoor Primary is located in a greatly culturally diverse area, and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our aims and ethos – To develop an understanding and respect for a wide range of religious values, languages, and cultural traditions/different ways of life. One of our school rules is 'to show respect to everyone and everything'.
Our pupils know that it is expected and imperative to show respect to everyone, whatever differences we may have. As well as showing respect to everything, whether it be a physical object or a religious belief. 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.
Specific examples of how we at Langmoor enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- Through Religious Education and other lessons, we develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – for example, in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world.
- Participating in Themed Weeks, where we celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the word.
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At Langmoor Primary School, such instances are extremely rare and are treated very seriously.
Something which is clearly not part of any British or European value is extremism. The Prevent Duty is clear that extremism of all kinds should be tackled and challenged. Extremism is not a new topic in education, but schools now have a statutory duty to pay “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.