Promoting British Values
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 values have been reiterated in 2014. At Lowtown these values are reinforced regularly. We also keep an up to date record of all such teaching and learning opportunities.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Lowtown Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate. Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter. There are many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The election of the school council reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action. Pupils draw up their own manifestos and make speeches before Election Day where votes are cast to decide each class representative. The council members are voted in by their class. Pupil voice has impacted visibly on recent school improvements such our school council managing the entire process of the School Food Ambassadors project and they have also been involved in the recruitment of new members of staff and our sports leaders.
The concept of democracy is also visited through our curriculum. In year 6, pupils explore democracy from its roots in Ancient Greece. In year 4 through a study of Nazi rule in war time Germany they look at periods in history where democratic rights have been compromised and the impact this has had on the lives of individuals and groups in society.
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 regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Our school moral values are intrinsic to the ethos of our school and are visited each half term, again through assemblies but also through our Personal Social Health & Economic (PSHE) curriculum. Through our school behaviour policy; school rules are clearly understood by pupils and are reinforced and consistently applied. 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through E-safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. Through knowledge of key historical events , for example Remembrance Day our pupils develop and understanding of the value of individual liberty and the sacrifices that have been made in its name.
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
Lowtown is situated in an area which is not greatly 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 curriculum introduces pupils to the beliefs of different faith groups with an approach that explores the commonality of human experience, our PSHE teaching also reinforces this. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
At Lowtown we will challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including “extremist” views.