Promoting fundamental British values at the William Henry Smith 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.
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
Students encounter these principles throughout everyday school life. In particular our promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding has been described by Ofsted as “inspirational, unique and aspirational; continuously improving the lives of students having resilience and problem solving at its core’ (2014).
Student voice is significant to life at the school. Our student elected school council plays a strong role in our school. They are elected by their learning group peers and are involved in making the school a better place to learn. Students have a great amount of input in regards to what and how they learn, which promotes pupil voice.
Student questionnaires are also conducted throughout the year. We know that Student Voice, house meetings (some of which are chaired by young people) opportunities to assist with recruitment, junior leadership roles and the active participation of our students will sow the seeds for a more sophisticated understanding of democracy in the future.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
At the school we offer a culturally rich and diverse curriculum in which many religions are researched and respected. 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.
The Rule of Law
Our students will encounter rules and laws throughout their entire lives. We want our students to understand that whether these laws govern the learning group, the house group, 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 students in the creation of the school 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 student can recognise the importance of these for their own protection. Throughout the year we welcome visits from members of the wider community including police, war veterans, 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 students.
We invest a great deal of time in creating a positive culture in our school so that students are in a safe environment where choices and freedoms are encouraged. We offer a wide range of clubs and activities which students have the freedom to choose from, based on their interests and skills. Through our E-Safety, we educate children on their rights and personal freedoms as well as supporting them in recognising how to exercise these freedoms safely. At the school we believe that valuing choice and freedom in daily school life will foster a value for individual liberty as our students embark upon their adult lives.
Mutual respect is at the core of our school life. Students learn to treat each other and staff with great respect and this partnership is seen throughout the various relationships between students and staff and, between students.
Recent projects related to British values:
Elections and parliamentary manifestos (see below)
Skills for Life
A whole school values statement