British Values statement and approaches in school

Our promotion of British values in school

The government set out their definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. These were reinforced in September 2014 due to recent events. These new regulations will sit alongside the requirements of the Equalities Act, which also applies to all types of school.

Schools will be expected to focus on, and be able to show, how our work with pupils is effective in embedding fundamental British values.

Promoting British values at Northern Counties School

We agree with the Department for Education’s five-part definition of British values:

  • democracy
    • the rule of law
    • individual liberty
    • mutual respect
    • tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

At Northern Counties students will encounter these principles throughout everyday school life. In particular, Ofsted stated we make a “strong contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development” because our “curriculum is greatly enriched with special events such as International Day, visits and trips”.

The curriculum is mapped in detail across the whole school. Listed below are some examples of how we promote these values in our school community:

Democracy

Pupil voice is significant in regards to life at our school. Our school council is made up largely of hearing impaired students who are able to consult each other and staff to make improvements or recommendations. Other students have more complex needs but we greatly value their choices, opinions and we respect their abilities to express their likes and dislikes.  Pupils have a great amount of input with regards to how they best learn, which promotes pupil voice. For example, the pupils are enabled to express opinions about projects and topics such as taking part in a pupil led gardening project at an allotment and this was used to inform the teacher’s planning, including budgeting for the purchase of seeds, tools and other equipment.

Pupil questionnaires and interviews are conducted throughout the year via the annual review process and we work hard to include pupils in their meetings.  Some will take part in the whole meeting, while others will; help to design a power point presentation to show their favourite achievements. Pupils ate asked to describe subjects they like and do not like and are able to contribute to planning their next steps in education. We know that the active participation of our pupils will begin to support their understanding of democracy in the future.

The Rule of Law

Our pupils will encounter rules and laws throughout their entire lives. We want our pupils to understand that whether these laws govern the class, the school, the neighbourhood or the country, they are set for good reasons and must be adhered to.

This understanding of the importance of rules will be consistently reinforced through assemblies and our curriculum. The involvement of our pupils in the creation of the school or class rules helps them to understand the reasons behind the rules and the consequences if they are broken. We allow opportunity to debate and discuss the reasons for laws so that children can recognise the importance of these for their own protection, for example through E Safety training and the use of social networking sites. Throughout the year we welcome visits from members of the wider community including police, the fire brigade and many more. We believe that clear explanations and real life stories emphasise the importance of the rule of law for our pupils.

Individual Liberty

We invest a great deal of time in creating a positive culture in our school, so that children are in a safe environment where choices and freedoms are encouraged. In lessons, learning tasks include choices where appropriate, even at a very simple level. We encourage children to choose the task that will challenge them, giving them more freedom to determine their own learning. We offer a range of clubs which pupils have the freedom to choose from, based on their interests. Through our E-Safety teaching we educate children on their rights and personal freedoms as well as supporting them in recognising how to exercise these freedoms safely. We believe that valuing choice and freedom in daily school life will foster a value for individual liberty as the children embark upon their adult lives.

Mutual respect

Mutual respect is at the core of our school life. Students learn to treat each other and staff with great respect. This is evident when walking around our school and in the classrooms. A key strength of the school is the relationships between students and staff which are vital to achievement and self – esteem and we treat all children with respect and dignity. Our children are taught in small groups with high staffing ratios that require team work and collaboration and they will constantly be surrounded by a philosophy of mutual respect.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

We offer a culturally rich and diverse curriculum in which all major religions are studied and respected at a level appropriate to each population. We strongly believe that tolerance is gained through knowledge and understanding. Through our curriculum and the routines of our daily school life, we strive to demonstrate tolerance and help children to become knowledgeable and understanding citizens who can build a better Britain for the future. We share in celebrations of ethnic minority pupils and ask them to bring a greater understanding to their classmates. Opportunities to share in a variety of different faiths are created through our menus such as celebrating Chinese New Year or St Patrick’s Day. We have a strong link with the Deaf community, who have their own culture and beliefs and we fully respect this, employing a number of deaf staff and explicitly teaching pupils about Deaf values.