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 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. At St Mary’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
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. Every September we have an election when the children in each class from Year 3 to Year 6 make a vote for a boy and girl from each class to represent the school council. The candidates canvas and write speeches to reinforce their campaign. The children love this process and have great respect for the outcomes. The school council meet regularly with members of the SLT present, then take the ideas from the meeting back to their classes for discussion.
Every child also contributes their ideas to the composition of their own class rules every year. This sets ground rules for classroom conduct and establishes the standards of behaviour children can expect from each other over the year ahead. All children also complete an annual questionnaire which provides them with the opportunity to share their views of learning at St Mary’s and suggest ways in which the school could be improved further.
Governors also talk regularly to children to establish their views as a way of ensuring that school self-evaluation is robust and accurate, and therefore effective in moving the school forward.
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 schools rules, rewards and sanctions which are displayed in all classrooms, referred to regularly and consistently upheld are a practical example of this.
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. 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 lessons, and in SMSC opportunities within the curriculum. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, how they record their learning, participation in one of our extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, children are given the freedom to make choices and make decisions.
As a Roman Catholic Primary School, 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. This goes hand-in-hand with our 5W of ‘welfare’.
Tolerance of Those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
At St. Mary’s, 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. RE, SMSC and PSHE teaching reinforce this. Each year the children explore two world faiths alongside their learning about Christianity. 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. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. We have established links with the Jalalabad Jamay Masjid in Oldham and Key Stage 2 classes visit regularly.
Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural and our development of British Values.
At our School we actively promote our Catholic faith and the values of the Church and of our Saviour, Jesus Christ and His Father in heaven. The fundamental British Values are part of this and we ensure we challenge pupils, staff or parents who express opinions that may be contrary to these. We encourage learning through the process of exploring, ‘what it means to be ‘follower of Christ’ and by enabling our pupils to:
• describe their own identities and the groups that they feel they belong to;
• recognising different identities, faiths and experiences;
• appreciating that identity consists of many factors;
• recognising that each person’s identity is unique in the image of God and changes throughout life;
• beginning to understand the idea of stereotypes.
We aim to develop a belief in freedom and equality; a respect for God’s law and for British institutions; tolerance; a belief in personal and social responsibility and a wish to resolve conflict through discussion, worship, prayer and democratic procedures. Central to all our work is our service to the church and principles of our faith. We are a large family who support, care and love each other.We are here to ensure the formation of our children in the likeness of God.
Our plans for learning, collective worship and other activities, encompass the above, but also : religious tolerance, taking a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and violence, the pursuit of excellence in academic and non- academic subjects and pupil well-being. As a school we aim to find that spark, that enthusiasm for learning and for achievement that stays with the individual as they move on to new challenges and into adulthood. We like to think that we listen to our parents and aim to work as partners. Please click on the link below for parents’ views and suggestions for improvements and the solutions we have tried to come up with .
Views and impact on school British Values at St Mary’s
Parents have the choice to express opinions about St. Mary’s through the parent view link (see below).