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, 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 John’s, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
At St John’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. We hold an election each autumn term where the children in Years 3-6 vote for their class representatives along with a representative for the Sports Council. The school council meets regularly to discuss ideas and issues important to the children and the school. In addition to this, Year 6 vote to elect the Head Boy and Head Girl. This process requires the children to prepare a manifesto and deliver the same to their peers.
Every child also contributes their ideas to the composition of their own class rules each year. This sets ground rules for classroom conduct and establishes the standards of behaviour children can expect from each other over the year ahead.
At St. John’s, we engage young people with the world beyond the classroom, addressing issues that affect them, their communities and the wider world through a broad and balanced curriculum.
The principle of democracy is explored in History and Religious Education as well as through assemblies.
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 school rules, rewards and sanctions, which are displayed in all classrooms, are referred to regularly and consistently upheld. The children are well aware of the laws in school and class and work with the teacher to formulate these.
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 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. Children are given the freedom to make choices and make decisions - this may be through participation in one of our lunchtime enrichment or extra-curricular clubs.
Respect is at the core of our school ethos and is modelled by students and staff alike. The school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments as well as extra-curricular activities.
In line with our commitment to democracy, students at St. John’s are always able to voice their opinions and we foster an environment where students are safe to disagree with each other. Our Mission Statement promotes the values of respect and responsibility. The school council also provides the students with an arena where they can bring up and discuss any issues that may undermine the school ethos.
TOLERANCE OF THOSE OF DIFFERENT FAITHS AND BELIEFS
Assemblies are regularly planned to enrich children’s understanding of different faiths and beliefs. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforces this. 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. The children visit places of worship and have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of these different faiths.
We believe that students should understand their place in a culturally diverse society and we work hard to create opportunities for our children to experience such diversity within the school community. All students across key stage 1 and 2 learn about different faiths and beliefs through our “Come and See” Religious Education programme. Supporting these sessions and the school curriculum are trips to different places of worship where our students gain valuable experience of other religions/cultures first hand.
Each year, we mark significant dates in the calendar that celebrate different cultures and backgrounds such as Diwali, Chinese New Year and Black History Month.
Each year our Year 5 children are given the opportunity to go Spain as part of our cultural exchange link with Colegio Humberto Juanes, Nigran. As part of the exchange. The children in Year 6 are also given the opportunity to host two Spanish children during the reciprocal visit to Manchester. This exchanges enables our children to have an appreciation of a different country whilst reinforcing the importance of their place within the international community.
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. 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. John’s is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our children. As a school, we recognise that safeguarding against radicalisation is no different from safeguarding against any other vulnerability. 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 of different faiths and beliefs.
THE ROLE OF THE CURRICULUM
Our curriculum promotes respect, tolerance and diversity. Children are encouraged to express themselves through discussions and consultations (pupil voice). 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.