Promoting British Values
Promoting British Values at St Joseph’s RC School.
The DfE 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 fundamental values have been reinforced in 2014.
Here at St Joseph’s we take very seriously our responsibility to prepare children for life in modern Britain. We ensure that the fundamental British Values are introduced, discussed and lived out through the our ethos of Love, Protect, Educate, Nurture. We promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children and young people through our curriculum, collective worship and wide range of extra-curricular activities, which is entirely consistent with our mission as a faith school.
Promoting the value of democracy takes many forms, within the formal and informal curriculum.
Pupils are encouraged from an early age to see themselves as having a voice which is listened to within the school. They work within their class groups to develop their own class rules. They elect classmates to participate in the Pupil Council, which meets regularly. Our school Chaplains make a significant contribution to the Catholic life of the school. Both our School Chaplains and our Pupil council contribution significantly to the decision making, even being involved in interviewing new staff. Pupils are regularly invited to put forward their views about the school.
All pupils are involved in charity work, Macmillan Cancer Support, St Joseph’s Penny, CAFOD, Love Your Heart Day, Children in Need.
All young people where appropriate and consistent with their level of understanding are taught about the democratic processes that operate within the UK, including through the PSHE curriculum. Topical political issues such as General Elections will inform discussions in class time or at assemblies.
As a result, children gain respect and understanding of how citizens can influence decision making through the democratic process and an understanding of how they can contribute positively to the lives of others.
The Rule of Law
Here at St Joseph’s, pupils are taught about the importance of rules which protect us, and keep us safe and happy, and help us to get along with others. Through our explicit teaching, our mission, anti-bullying and Good Behaviour policy, pupils are encouraged in their awareness of right from wrong and their place in the world’s history. They are encouraged to see that rules are there not to restrain us but to free us to become better and happier people. Throughout all phases, pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and their own behaviour.
Through PSHE lessons, participation in anti-bullying week in November and Internet Safety Day in February and informally throughout their interactions with visitors, staff and others, pupils learn about the laws of the land, and the roles of agencies such as courts and police. Furthermore, we work with a range of agencies and partners to help our pupils develop safe behaviour.
As a result, children gain an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination, including online. They are expected to show empathy towards others and learn about right and wrong. Furthermore, they develop the confidence to argue their point of view and develop an understanding of how the civil and criminal law in England protects all citizens within their communities.
At St Joseph’s, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices appropriate to their ability and level of understanding, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. We encourage pupils in the development of their self- confidence and self-belief, and to be assertive. We reinforce the belief that we all have rights and personal freedoms, and we demonstrate how to develop and exercise these safely, including in relation to e-safety , through the taught and implicit curriculum.
As a result, our pupils develop a sense of their own personal freedoms, and recognise the impact they may have on others, including staff, family and peers.
Mutual Respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
We are in a unique position in that we are a Roman Catholic School, and Christ is at the heart of all that we do. Our mission is to create a community of ‘Love, Protect, Educate and Nurture’, and we are proud of our school, of our community, Jesus and Mary. Notwithstanding this, we welcome young people from all faiths and cultures. We encourage our non- Catholic pupils to be proud of their differing beliefs, and celebrate these within assemblies and at all opportunities. Our non- Catholic pupils take a full and active part in the liturgy and faith celebrations, in daily prayers and rituals. Equally we are sensitive to where pupils may be less comfortable with this. Pupils are taught about discrimination consistent with their level of understanding and how this is wrong.
Staff monitor carefully any indications of religious intolerance, including through our safeguarding policies.
Pupils have many opportunities to learn about people from different cultures and faiths including through our curriculum, World Faith Weeks, links within the community and the multicultural nature of our school family. We also encourage our young people to develop their sense of charity and care for others, locally and globally.
As a result, St Joseph’s is a happy and safe environment, in which children and young people can learn and grow, and contribute much to British Society. Furthermore, there is tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions as children acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and others cultures.