The DfE have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all school 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 in the last few years. At Lent Rise these values are reinforced regularly through the ways outlined below.
Being part of Britain
As a school we understand, value and celebrate the diverse backgrounds of everyone at Lent Rise. We also value and celebrate being a part of Britain. We celebrate traditions and customs throughout the school year; for example, Harvest festival during the Autumn term, our Christmas productions and even by watching a pantomime in December. We also value and celebrate national events, such as the General Election and the VE day anniversary in May.
In addition to this, the children learn about life in Britain from a variety of perspectives, historically and geographically. An example of this is in Year 6 where the children have the opportunity to partake in a Victorian day to truly experience what school life may have been like in Britain during that era.
In every year group the children are encouraged to partake in many democratic procedures. The children vote for members of their class to represent them in the School Council and in the Healthy School Eco Council. This encourages the children to share their opinions and gives them a collective voice. The children are also encouraged to present balanced arguments in Literacy and debates are held within lessons where the children’s opinions are discussed and also respected.
Philosophy for Children is a program which the school has been exploring. Many teachers how found this effective at encouraging children to present arguments eloquently backed up by evidence/reasons. PSHE days are held with Politics and Democracy as a theme. This is also investigated in the topic of Ancient Greece in History in Year 5.
Rule of law
The staff at Lent Rise promote a good understanding of the rule of law by promoting good behaviour in all aspects of the children’s lives. The teachers implement rewards and sanctions and encourage the children to understand the impact and consequences of their actions. Having frequent circle times where these things can be discussed and understood in more depth helps the children understand the importance of the rule of law. Members of the community who are involved in law enforcement are also invited into the school to talk to the children maintaining a certain level of respect for these visitors. In Religious Education, the children are encouraged to consider the rules within the country and culture and how they have changed- they do this critically and through a variety of ways (e.g. a courtroom scenario).
The children are taught to consider their individual liberty by partaking in debates, circle times and Philosophy for Children sessions where their opinions can be stated freely. They are also encouraged to become more independent as they mature in the upper key stage and to consider their rights alongside the rights of others in their classes. This is taught alongside teaching the children about their responsibility to others and the world around them.
Mutual respect and tolerance of other beliefs and faiths
Combatting discrimination is at the centre of many aspects of Lent Rise. Discussions are frequently held with the children about a variety of beliefs and faiths, through R.E. lessons and P.S.H.E. sessions. Freedom of belief is also discussed as a topic and is embedded in R.E. and P.S.H.E. as well as in topics like science where beliefs and faith may not correspond directly to scientific thought. Having circle time is one method which has been effective in resolving disputes which are of this nature and at the prevention of these. The children are encouraged to air their views and critically respond to the views of others whilst respecting them. Disagreement is discussed as being positive and diversifying rather than something negative.
During our collective worship time, our themes are centred on positive values incorporating mutual respect and tolerance at all times. Different beliefs are also shared and encouraged to reflect the diverse nature of the children and staff who make up the school. Equality and fairness are also themes which are discussed in assemblies and in class as the children are encouraged to consider different situations empathetically.
Throughout the school the key British values are embedded in teaching and through various other methods as discussed. The children are encouraged to be polite and helpful as well as being positive and aspirational.