The Department for Education have recently 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 Bilbrook C of E Middle School these values are part of our whole school ethos. They are reinforced and developed through the teaching of Citizenship and Religious Education within Humanities, the teaching of Personal and Social Education through all subjects across the curriculum, the assesmbly programme and a positive behaviour policy. Promoting British Values enables children to understand, participate and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.
Democracy is central to life within the school for pupils and parents. Our pupils are taught to listen to each other with respect and consideration. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council, student forum sessions, questionnaires and interviews. The Senior Leadership Team participate in pupil voice activities which are incorporated into the school’s development plans. An electoral system is used to select School Council members and House Captains, demonstrating democracy in action. School Council members have recently been influential in expanding the variety of playground equipment available to pupils, as well as choices regarding trips and after-school clubs. The curriculum promotes opportunities for learning about democracy in a number of different contexts including Citizenship, which is taught within Humanities, as well as time spent within tutor groups. Our school behaviour policy is built around rewards and sanctions. This is wholly supported by pupils and parents. Parents are encouraged to complete regular questionnaires and take part in parent forum sessions whereby their comments are used to further develop our school.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught, within Citizenship, the value and reasons behind laws: that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. High expectations are reinforced regularly and opportunities are sought frequently to praise positive choices through our school house point system, green cards, certificates and reward trips. Pupils in Year 8 who demonstrate consistently excellent behaviour are selected to act as Prefects or Buddies. Our school Behaviour Policy is continuously applied and visible throughout the school. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce the importance of laws. At Bilbrook C of E Middle School, PE lessons regular sporting activities and opportunities to work together in all areas of the curriculum further promote the importance of rules and laws to enable our pupils to work together effectively and safely.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school, we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and to do this safely, for example through Citizenship, E-Safety lessons within Computing, tutor time and regular whole school assemblies. Whether it be through choice of challenge, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. They are also encouraged to reflect on their choices and consider the impact they have on others. Positive behaviours are taught across the school and every child is aware that they have the right to feel safe. There is a strong anti-bullying culture where children are valued for their differences and care is taken to provide equal opportunities for all genders such as a mixed boys and girls netball team, cookery club and F1 in schools. Stereotypes are challenged and time and care is taken to know each child as an individual. Pupils are supported to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. They are encouraged to take responsibility for their behaviour, as well as knowing their rights.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our school ethos, ‘Let your light shine’. Children learn in Personal Social Education, delivered across the curriculum, and in tutor time that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. The pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small. If pupils show disrespect to one another, this is dealt with immediately through the school’s behaviour policy and Parents/Carers are contacted. A consistent behaviour policy is in place and children take responsibility, with support when needed, to resolve conflict and repair relationships. Time is given for this repair and restoration and to talk about the behaviour which is disrespectful to others.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Assemblies are planned to give pupils opportunity to reflect on a variety of beliefs, cultures and moral values. Our curriculum incorporates teaching and learning opportunities for children to explore aspects of the wider world, as well as British Values, and an appreciation of cultural diversity, for example – Festivals, Divali and Chinese New Year. The RE curriculum is also carefully planned to equip children with the knowledge which will enable them to understand the diverse nature of peoples’ beliefs and we also have themed days during the year, such as International Day. We support our pupils in understanding, accepting, respecting and celebrating diversity. This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Children have opportunity to visit multicultural places of worship. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in lessons across the curriculum. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Our curriculum ensures that a wide range of different faiths and beliefs are taught, including British Values. The local Reverend visits the school for community performances and talks to the children in assemblies; these talks coincide with main events occurring in the Christian calendar such as advent. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Through this, our pupils gain an enhanced understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society.