Promoting British Values At Poolsbrook Primary School
In 2014, as part of a Government key priority, the Department for Education empathised the importance of promoting British Values within schools. Furthermore, OFSTED updated its inspection handbook to include an evaluation of a school’s effectiveness on the teaching of British values as part of its programme of spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) education.
At Poolsbrook Primary School educating children on British values has long since been part of our SMSC teaching through Religious Education, SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) collective worship, assemblies and themed activities during the year. British Values are integral to our own ethos and values. It is vital that we prepare the children to thrive in the world away from Poolsbrook and so they need to have an understanding and appreciation of the rich diversity that modern day Britain provides.
As well as actively promoting British Values, the opposite also applies; we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values including ‘extremist’ views.
The term ‘British Values’ might be slightly misleading in that these value are integral to many countries throughout the world.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Poolsbrook Primary. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means we celebrate/acknowledge traditions, for example, Harvest Festival, Bonfire Night, Remembrance Day Easter and Christmas traditions including a visit to a Pantomime. We also celebrate National events including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics in 2012. As part of our timetable for fund raising, we ensure that not only do we raise money for international causes but also those on a national and local level including Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Lord Mayor’s charity as well as those close to members of our school community. The children, through the Student Council have a voice as to how we raise money.
As part of the children’s curriculum, they learn about being part of Britain through different perspectives. Two key areas that this involves are:
a) Geography – As part of the new National Curriculum (2014) children develop their knowledge and understanding of the world, the United Kingdom and local area.
b) History – British history is a key component of the new National Curriculum (2014). Teaching and learning focuses on developing children’s knowledge and understanding of how the past has influenced our lives in Britain today. From an early age, children are taught about parliament, law making and democracy.
More information on the school’s curriculum can be found here on the website.
Children, parents, governors and staff have many opportunities for voices to be heard at Poolsbrook Primary.
Democracy is integral part of the school.
One key example is the School Council. The system we use to elect Council members is akin to the British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils then vote in secret and the result is announced in assembly. Council members then have the opportunity to visit local council chambers and have their student council badges presented to them by the Mayor of Chesterfield. With 2 members representing each year group, the School Council meets on a regular basis to discuss issues raised by the different classes. Other examples of student voice are:
- Children agree their Class Charter (Class rules) and the rights associated with these; all children contribute to the drawing up of the charter.
- Eco Committee
- Children complete an annual questionnaire
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully 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 their own learning and progress. This is developed through a set of 6 learning skills which are taught through a variety of means including assemblies, SEAL and SMSC activities.
The learning skills are:
- Self- Manager
- Independent Enquirer
- Resourceful Thinker
- Reflective Worker
- Effective Participator
- Team Worker
These encourage a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and are promoted on a daily basis by both children and staff at Poolsbrook.
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. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Class Charter (Class Rules) a set of principles that 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 the fire service
- During Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are taught
- During other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules - in PE for example
Alongside rules and laws, at Poolsbrook 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 the children to make choices safely; for example:
- Choices about what they would like to find out/learn as part of their topic work
- Choices about how they record their learning
- Choices around the participation in extra- curricular activities
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 e-safety and SEAL lessons.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
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, a religious belief or whatever. This endorsed through our Golden Rules which form an integral part of school life.
- We are gentle
- We are kind and helpful
- We listen
- We are honest
- We work hard
- We look after property
Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Poolsbrook Primary enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- Through RE, SEAL and other curriculum areas including in art and literacy, we develop an awareness and appreciation of other cultures.
- Through themed days/weeks we celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the world.
- Through visits and visitors we help children to learn about other faiths and cultures which included organising visits to places of worship and developing links with other schools in other areas of the country.