The DfE have 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 Joseph’s Catholic Primary Academy these values are reinforced regularly. While we focus on a range of virtues and the 5 British Values as relevant, we also teach the children one specific virtue each half term and linked to this virtue is one specific British Value.
In our academy, children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. All our children have the opportunity to be leaders within their own classroom and also within the wider life of our academy, applying for vacancies across a range of roles. This means that all our children have the chance to experience leadership and active involvement in the running of the class and the academy.
Our children can place prayer petitions in the Prayer Jar at any time and these prayers are valued and offered in our Key Stage and Whole School Prayer Liturgies.
We have a comment box in a designated place in class and children can make suggestions or comments or share ideas which are then reviewed and passed on to the relevant staff as appropriate. Our children have been influential in a range of ways already including contributing to the school dinner menu and purchasing new playtime equipment as a result of surveys carried out across school.
At the start of each year the children decide on their class rules based on the school rules and our Mission. They then choose which are the most important for them as a group.
Each class is also given £50 at the start of the year as a ‘class budget’. Throughout the year our children are expected to take care of their class equipment and any that is wasted or misused will be replaced from the £50. Any money left (or all) at the end of the year from the £50 can be spent on whatever the class decides. Previous choices have included a picnic; a pyjama DVD afternoon with snack; a visit from the ice cream van with extended play and indoor playtime games.
We are committed to supporting charities in our school and fundraise for many causes. Each class chooses to remain with the class charity or suggest another to support. The children share ideas and initiate schemes to achieve their goals. We also respond to need as it occurs and the children are instrumental in this.
Towards the end of a Half Term each class is asked to reflect on the contributions that their classmates make to the class and the school and on the example they set for others. They are then asked to vote for who they think should be recognised as 'Students' Student of the Half Term'. The chosen student is presented with a certificate and trophy in the last Celebration Assembly of the half term.
Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about our academy.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the academy, or the country, are consistently reinforced, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school worship and assemblies. Our 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message. Our Personal Development curriculum further supports this using resources from the West Yorkshire Police.
The contributions our children make to the Academy Mission and their Class Mission establish the shared vision for how we all need to behave in line with the rules we have set together.
Within our academy, our children are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. We educate and provide boundaries for them to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Our children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely eg: through our Online Safety and RE lessons, in worship and in assemblies as well as through our Personal Development curriculum. We include mental health and well being and our timetable includes opportunities for mindfulness and reflection.
Our children also understand the right of others to make their own choices and to celebrate the ways in which we are the same and different. Our children understand they make many choices daily in their lives and that while we as adults can guide them, ultimately the choice made is theirs. We do ask however, that they remain aware of how the choices they make will affect others.
As a faith community, love and mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Jesus said 'Love one another as I have loved you!'
Our children learn that their behaviour impacts on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect and we work hard to live out our school motto: Love, Learn and Live in Christ. Our motto was created by a previous Year 6 class and voted for by the rest of the school.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Our academy is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting an awareness of diversity within our local and wider community. Our RE curriculum reinforces this. Any children of other faiths are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school and links with other academy communities such as Confirmation and Reconciliation, sporting fixtures and Battle of the Books, as well as other opportunities within the Trust support this.
We know our children well and work hard to use their personal interests to reiterate the message of diversity through other means also, such as tolerance and respect for those who support different football teams to them as one example. Many of our children are passionate about football and their favourite team and intolerance is often borne out of passion without reason or understanding, so we work hard to ensure our children are well equipped to cope with this in a mature and tolerant way.
At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Academy we will actively challenge pupils, staff, governors or parents/carers expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.