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 John’s we believe that these essential values underpin much of our work in promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children and young people, and 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 and which makes a significant contribution to the life of the school and decision making, even being involved in interviewing new staff. Pupils are regularly invited to put forward their views about the school.
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. Where appropriate, pupils are also introduced to the types of alternatives to democratic government that exist in other parts of the world.
The Rule of Law
Here at St John’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 and through our mission, pupils are encouraged in their awareness of right from wrong. They are encouraged to see that rules are there not to restrain us but to free us to become better and happier people.
In a school that caters for such a diverse range of ages and abilities, rules within classes and key stages may vary. But throughout all phases, pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and their own behaviour.
Through PSHE lessons and informally throughout their interactions with staff and others, pupils learn about the laws of the land, and the roles of agencies such as courts and police. We are acutely conscious that some of our young people run the risk of entering the criminal justice system and we work with a range of agencies and partners to help them to help to develop safe behaviour.