The Department of Education 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 by the Prime Minister this year. At St Peter’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
At St Peter’s democracy is taken very seriously. Children are actively encouraged to have a voice and share their views and opinions regularly. Our active school council is one such example. Every September we have an election week when the candidates for class representatives on the school council pitch their election manifesto to the rest of their class. A secret ballot ensues and the results are announced in a special assembly. The children love this process and have great respect for the outcomes. The school council representatives (2 per class from Reception to Year 6) meet every week then take the ideas from the meeting back to their classes for discussion.
Every child also contributes their ideas to the composition of their own class charter every year. This sets ground rules for classroom conduct and establishes the standards of behaviour children can expect from each other over the year ahead. All children also complete an annual questionnaire which provides them with the opportunity to share their views of learning at St Peter’s and suggest ways in which the school could be improved further.
Governors also talk regularly to children to establish their views as a way of ensuring that school self-evaluation is robust and accurate, and therefore effective in moving the school forward.
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 assemblies. Children 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. Our schools rules, rewards and sanctions which are displayed in all classrooms, referred to regularly and consistently upheld are a practical example of this.
Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Within school, children are actively encouraged to make decisions and choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young children to take risks and make choices safely. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, how they record their learning, participation in one of our extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, children are given the freedom to make choices and make decisions.
As a Church of England School, mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
Tolerance of Those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
St Peter’s is situated in an area which is not culturally diverse, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are 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 and PSHE teaching reinforce this. Each year the children explore a world faith alongside their learning about Christianity. By the time they leave us all children have learnt about the beliefs and practices of people of the following world faiths; Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
At St Peter’s we will actively challenge children, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including those expressing ‘extremist’ views.
PREVENTING RADICALISATION AND EXTREMISM
Radicalisation is defined as the act or process of making a person more radical or favouring of extreme or fundamental changes in political, economic or social conditions, institutions or habits of the mind.
Extremism is defined as the holding of extreme political or religious views.
The Governing Body of St Peter’s has a zero tolerance approach to extremist behaviour for all school community members. We rely on our strong values to steer our work and ensure the pastoral care of our children protects them from exposure to negative influences.
St Peter’s is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all its children. As a school we recognise that safeguarding against radicalisation is no different from safeguarding against any other vulnerability. At St Peter’s all staff are expected to uphold and promote the fundamental principles of British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
• Children are encouraged to adopt and live out our Core Values. These complement the key “British Values” of tolerance, respect, understanding, compassion and harmonious living.
• Children are helped to understand the importance of democracy and freedom of speech, through the SEAL (Social, emotional aspects of learning) assemblies and through the elected School Council members
• Children are taught how to keep themselves safe, in school and when using the internet.
• Children participate in local community events so that they appreciate and value their neighbours and friends who may not share their faith background.
• Children’s wellbeing, confidence and resilience is promoted through our planned curriculum and extra curricular learning opportunities.
• Children are supported in making good choices from a very young age, so they understand the impact and consequences of their actions on others.
THE ROLE OF THE CURRICULUM
Our curriculum promotes respect, tolerance and diversity. Children are encouraged to express themselves through discussions, debates and consultations. The RE (Religious Education), PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education), Citizenship and SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) provision is embedded across the curriculum, and underpins the ethos of our school. Children learn about all major faiths and visit places of worship wherever possible. They are also taught about how to stay safe when using the internet.
Our approach to teaching at St Peter’s is built on the 6Rs of resilience, respect, readiness, responsibility, the ability to reason and reflectivity. Whilst all of these enable the children to become well-rounded individuals we recognise the importance of resilience in preventing children being drawn into extremist ways of thinking.
Although serious incidents involving radicalisation have not occurred at St Peter’s to date, it is important for us to be constantly vigilant and remain fully informed about the issues which affect the region in which we teach. Staff are reminded to suspend any professional disbelief that instances of radicalisation ‘could not happen here’ and to refer any concerns through the Child Protection/ Safeguarding Lead Teachers.