Promoting British Values
The Department for 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.”
Our Lady & St John is committed to serving its community, recognising the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. Staff understand the vital role they have in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation by those wishing to unduly or illegally influence them.
This follows equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. Our Lady & St John is dedicated to preparing our students for their adult life beyond the formal, examined curriculum and ensuring that we promote British values to all of our students.
The government defined British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy.
The five key British values are:
• The rule of law
• Individual liberty
• Mutual respect
• Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
These values are reinforced regularly in the following ways:
Democracy underpins everything we do within the school and our students play a central role in all of our systems; their voices heard through our student senate, questionnaires and surveys. Through PSHCE, and history students learn about how the United Kingdom is governed and how citizens participate actively in democracy through lobbying, voting and pressure groups.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, by the enforcement of rules, is present in our everyday school life, whether they are those that govern the classroom, the school, or the country. They are consistently reinforced throughout the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Students are taught the value and reasons behind laws: that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when rules are broken. Rules and laws, together with how the justice system works in the UK are explored through the schools PSHCE programme. Students learn about the importance of law in any community, the role of the police and the operation of courts and tribunals. Visits from guest speakers (all DBS checked) form part of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Within school, students are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school which has been recognized as being fully committed to the rights and responsibilities of young people, we educate and provide boundaries for students to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and given advice on how to exercise these safely, for example through our PSHCE lessons. In citizenship students learn about human rights and freedoms and how people have fought to allow them the freedoms of choice they have today. They are taught to value their rights along with upholding the responsibilities that come with them. Whether it is through choice of challenge in their work, how they record information or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, students are given the freedom to make choices.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around core values such as ‘Respect’, and students have been part of these discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Respect is the core value that runs through the whole of the PSHCE programme at Our Lady & St John. Students are taught the reasons why they should respect their environment respect the rules that hold the community together, respect the people who they share their community with, respect and tolerate difference, and most importantly to respect themselves. Events including anti-bullying week help us further to develop in our students the value of respect.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
This is achieved through enhancing students’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Through PSHCE we explore issues of bullying, racism, homophobia, hate crime, community cohesion, prejudice and discrimination and whole school assemblies, events and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in Philosophy and Belief, RE and PSHCE. Provision is made for students who are fasting and / or whom require the use of a prayer room.