The Department for Education has recently reinforced the need to, “create and enforce a clear a 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, and these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister this year. At Weare Academy, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is central to the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council and in a variety of other ways such as: our annual Pupil Questionnaire, consultation for Behaviour Policy and market research for fundraising events.
The election of School Council members from each year group are based solely on pupil votes. Our commitment to valuing the ‘pupil voice’ ensures that all our pupils are involved in making decisions about school life including their learning. Pupils are also included in the recruitment of teaching staff.
The principal of democracy is also explored at an age appropriate level in History and Religious Education.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country are constantly reinforced at Weare Academy.
Pupils are taught the rules of the school from an early age and are involved in regular consultation for our behaviour policy. These are our Golden rules, Playground Rules and Safety rules. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws that govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
Visits from the Police, and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices and take risks, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.
Pupils are encouraged to know, understand their rights and personal freedoms. We advise them how to exercise these safely and responsibly, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE sessions, and through workshops such as with the NSPCC. We are also committed to following the UNICEF Rights Respecting School service and assembly program.
We ensure a strong anti-bullying culture and make Anti-Bullying Week part of our annual curriculum.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around core Christian Values such as ‘respect’, and pupils are regularly involved in discussions around what this means and how it is shown. This is displayed around the school to promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules our mission statement is that ‘All can achieve’. It is also reiterated in our anti-bullying policy.
Respect and tolerance is developed further by building our pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society. Services and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Throughout the year we celebrate key Christian events as part of our Church of England status. We also teach our pupils about other cultural and religious activities by involving the school in practical experiences which deepen their understanding of different faiths and beliefs, with a particular focus on how these events are celebrated in Britain.
Preparation for later life
Our pupils watch and discuss current news. They consider how they can make positive influence on society and in caring for our world through service, charitable events and opportunities for enterprise within the curriculum.