Promoting British Values
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy.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.”
At Brookland Junior School we take opportunities to actively promote British Values, defined by the government as the following:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and belief
Actively promoting also means challenging pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values. As we work towards our accreditation as a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, values of tolerance and respect permeate all areas of school life. We aim to create a climate within which pupils feel safe and secure and which facilitates the fulfillment of potential. Pupil Voice plays an integral part in driving the school forward and making the right choices at different levels is seen as the foundation upon which this can be achieved.
Below are just some aspects of school life that enable children to get a sense of these fundamentals as they move on through their time at school.
Children have many opportunities for their views to be heard.Throughout the year various Pupil Voice interviews take place to gain children’s insight and views of their learning. Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school. All children are actively encouraged to participate in class discussion and in their learning.
We have a number of pupil forums and councils, including our Children's Committee who work alongside the governing body. These groups meet regularly to discuss issues, monitor school development priorities from a pupil perspective and to make decisions about events in school. They also fund raise for chosen charities and present assemblies.
A broad and balanced curriculum that teaches elements of democracy, responsibility, equality, values and virtues, environmental awareness and understanding of other faiths (through the wider curriculum and discrete RE lessons).The curriculum provides opportunities for debate and children take part in choosing HOW and WHAT they would like to learn at the start of each Learning Journey. Pupils then act as partners in their assessment and the tracking of their learning success across term. In Year 5 the Ancient Greek Learning Journey explores how they introduced ‘Democracy’ to the world and how that impacts on our lives today.
The Rule of Law
The importance of rules/ laws at all levels is taught explicitly in PSHE sessions but is constantly reinforced through the daily running of the school and within assemblies. These include the expectations within the class, the school, the community or within the country. Each class creates and agrees its own set of class rules. Our ‘Readiness’ element of the Brookland Six learning values helps to ensure that children understand how to behave in a positive way that helps to create a high quality learning environment. Our House Point system reinforces this.Pupils are taught that they have responsibility to uphold laws and they realise through our Behaviour Policy that making poor choices has consequences.
Children and parents sign our home/school and E safety agreements upon entering Brookland Junior that sets out the expectations for pupils’ learning and behaviour. These commitments mirror the expectations set by society and enable positive participation in school life.
Through our PSHE curriculum, children are taught about emotional well-being and how their individual choices can affect those around them. By encouraging children to take responsibility for their own choices, we are promoting the ownership of behaviour and adherence to the rule of law in wider society.
In year 6, children are taught how to safely ride a cycle, ensuring that they follow the rules of the road.
Children are taught about laws in connection to the Computing curriculum; for example, children learn about copy write and plagiarism.
Year 6 children participate in the Hertfordshire ‘Crucial Crew’ event to learn about a whole range of activities linked to the Rule of Law as well as their responsibilities towards their own safety and that of other people. This supports their curriculum work where they are given age appropriate information about what is and is not legal in regard to drug use and relationships.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing they are in a safe and supportive environment. Through PSHE and regular assemblies pupils are taught how to make safe choices. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, or taking part in extra-curricular opportunities, pupils exercise their rights to make choices and are encouraged to exercise their rights and personal freedoms. They also take on roles and responsibilities, such as Brookland Buddies, House Captains, Sports Leaders etc.
Children are taught about rights and respect for the rights of others in our PSHE curriculum and also through assemblies. Children’s achievements are celebrated in assemblies to instill in them a sense of worth and create ambitious pupils who believe in themselves and their self-worth.
Children are taught about making ‘good’ choices and have a full understanding that they are the ones that make choices about how they act, whether those choices are well made or not. In Year 6 children apply for roles that help to make the school function well and so freely choose the way they will contribute to our community.
Through our positive Behaviour Policy, which encourages tolerance and mutual respect, pupils learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All people in and around school treat each other with respect, with adults acting as role-models for the pupils. Assemblies uphold traditional values of empathy, respect and tolerance. These are also taught within dedicated circle time sessions, RE lessons and on an informal nature throughout the school day. Children are taught to respect others regardless of their individual differences. Bullying of any kind is not tolerated.
Equality is promoted in every aspect of school including our work towards the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award. We actively promote gender equality and teach the children about racial equality. The charity work that Brookland Junior School children participate in is extremely valuable in helping them to develop a respect for others whilst also supporting the development of their role as active citizens in the wider society. For example, in 2014/15 the pupils chose Haven House Children's hospice as their chosen charity and in addition raised £500 for the Nepal earthquake appeal.
Some pupils carry out the role of ‘Brookland Buddy’ at lunchtimes where they help to organise activities with other pupils in order to enable them to have enjoyable lunchtimes. This fosters a mutual respect between all parties across a range of ages.
We have participated and will continue to join in cluster project and training days that include children and staff from other schools working together to achieve a common goal. The school is developing ways in which the New Curriculum can be tailored to Brookland pupils, for example: raising an awareness of our community through finding out about the Lea Valley area.
Through many community events Brookland pupils learn and understand about community cohesion, collaboration and respect for others.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
We teach a range of world religions, as part of the Hertfordshire Religious Education Curriculum.
Assemblies and lessons use a wide variety of resources, including stories, ICT, visitors etc to help pupils understand a variety of faiths and cultures. We celebrate in school through displays, stories and music from different parts of the world. Visits and visitors into school also enhance pupils understanding.
During PSHE sessions, children learn to accept and embrace difference and to understand how individuals feel by exploring emotional literacy.This work crosses all potential barriers of faith and religion. Supporting this, children’s RE lessons enable them to develop a growing understanding of different cultures and beliefs. The more children learn about religions, the more likely they are to understand different people’s motivations and feelings, thereby enabling them to be more tolerant of those cultures and beliefs that differ from their own.
Our Equalities Policy ensures that people of all religious beliefs, genders, ethnicities, abilities or any other differences are offered the same opportunities to thrive at our school. This is supported by the teaching and sharing of other languages.
At Brookland, we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.