Teaching British Values at The Cathedral Catholic Primary School
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 The Cathedral Catholic Primary School, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is an important value at our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our regular school meetings including Friday Achievement Collective Worship. The elections of members of the School Council are based on presentations by the ‘candidates’ and pupil votes. Class and school rules and the rights and responsibilities associated with these are drawn up collaboratively with the children and every class and staff member signs up to these rules. Our Collective Worship themes are based around Catholic Values and each half term we have a new focus, eg courage, responsibility.
Pupils are actively encouraged to make choices at our school, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we provide boundaries for our children to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and planned curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our Online Safety teaching. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, e.g. creative homework tasks
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws and rules, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced through all aspects of school life. Pupils 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, fire service etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message. To encourage and promote positive behaviour, attitude and work, we have devised a reward system which is consistently followed throughout the school, based on a behaviour policy with sanctions and rewards. Children are rewarded not only for achievement in curriculum areas, but for behaviour and effort in all aspects of life.
Much of our school ethos and behaviour policy revolves around Core Values, ‘Respect’ being one of these. Through discussions and assemblies we explore what this means and how this can be shown to others. Respect is promoted around the school and is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules; our daily conversations and expectations as well as through our behaviour policies. Catholic values such as friendship, underpin our school ethos of ‘caring, growing and learning together’.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
As a Catholic School we follow the locally agreed RE syllabus. Children learn ‘about religion’ and’ from religion’ and we aim to promote tolerance and understanding of those of different faiths or no faith. This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity in the local and wider community. There are opportunities to experience different places of worship through visits to local places of worship. Members of different faiths or religions via the local community are invited into school and encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning across the school. Collective Worship and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. We use opportunities such as the Olympics and World Cup to study and learn about life and culture in other countries.
British Values and the Curriculum
This is underpinned by a range of curriculum topics which have strong links to the British Empire. Some examples studied to promote ‘British Values’ are: learning about the make-up of the United Kingdom, the chronology of British History including knowledge and understanding of key events, people and the impact which they have had on our society, World War Two, Poppy Day celebrations where children purchase poppies and observe a minute's silence, visit to the local war memorial, special 'heroes' (notable people) who have made a real difference to society such as Florence Nightingale and pioneers of science, the arts and technology. As a whole school, we have celebrated many events which celebrate British patriotisms. Some examples are the 2012 Olympics, the Diamond anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II Head of the British Monarchy and observations of British Saint’s Days. The school undertakes assemblies, which uphold the traditional values of empathy, respect and tolerance.
Upon leaving The Cathedral Catholic Primary School, pupils will understand their responsibilities as citizens of a democratic society and have an awareness of how by they can maintain the underpinning core British values whilst maintaining an awareness and respect for the culturally diverse society in which they live.
As part of our work on British Values and to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan, we had a Royal Wedding themed picnic and dressed up: