In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the autumn term and a traditional Nativity performance by our younger pupils at Christmas time.
We also value and celebrate national events; a recent example being ‘Le Grand Depart’ in 2014. The fantastic lamp-post banners, designed by our pupils, lined the main street through Pool where the race passed through!
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Pool C of E Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate and is actively encouraged by our ‘open door’ ethos.
Examples in our school are our School Council and Pool PALs. The election of these members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates put themselves forward, consider characteristics important for an elected representative and our other pupils then vote in secret.
Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The Council are actively involved in recruitment of new teachers and more recently, they were fully involved in planning the design of the new KS2 playground area.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages an increased sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
Rules and laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. Our expectations of ‘Learning Behaviour’ sets out principles which are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
· visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
· during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
· during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
· choices about the learning challenge or activity
· choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
· the choice a week in advance of what to have for lunch
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our class Collective Worship, E-safety and PSHE lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
At Pool C of E Primary, mutual respect is at the heart of our ethos: 'At Pool we have a happy welcoming community where everyone is valued and feels safe'.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource or a religious belief. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
· through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in our Topic and Art work, by considering culture from other parts of the world
· Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value but at Pool C of E Primary, such instances are extremely rare.