British Values at St Joseph's catholic primary school
‘Keeping our children safe and ensuring schools prepare them for life in modern Britain could not be more important.’ Department for Education (2014).
In accordance with The Department for Education and our Catholic Faith, we aim to actively promote British Values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. Pupils are encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance and understand that while different people may hold different views about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, all people living in England are subject to and protected by its law.
The Government set out its definition of British Values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. The DfE has recently reinforced the need ‘to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values.’ These are:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect
- tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
How this is done at St Joseph’s-
At St Joseph’s we teach British Values within the context of Gospel Values and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. The promotion of ‘British values’ is central to Catholic education because British values have their origin in the Christian values of our nation.
At St Joseph’s we recognise, not only the importance of helping our children to flourish academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, so they are fully prepared for life in British society and for their role as citizens, able to make the strongest possible contribution to the Common Good of all. We teach the importance of British Values by going much deeper into the meaning of what it means to live a good life, within a framework of Catholic Christian Values. This provides the context and meaning for understanding why British values are important. Our framework for understanding British values draws on the example of Jesus and his welcome and inclusion of all, which is developed in Catholic Social Teaching. At St Joseph’s we provide an education which focuses on the formation of the whole person and on our vocation and purpose in life. We place a significant emphasis on the celebration of individuality and difference within our communities and our calling to work for the Common Good, in the service of others. Our Catholic ethos, which includes Christian and British values, makes a difference to the way we work together and with our wider communities. Within this framework it would be impossible to overlook the governments view of British values expressed as ‘democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.’
We actively promote these values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupils' character and moral perspective, through the teachings of the Catholic Church, and Catholic Social Teaching with our pupils across all areas of school life. Our collective worship plan reinforces this and is based on the ‘Catholic School Pupil Profile’, where a virtue is a key focus for us during each term. It is through this programme that the values really come to life. British values are also fostered through our daily work and Catholic life in school.
Through our RE, PSHE, Difference and Diversity, Geography curriculum and through promoting The Common Good we are able to make real links between the values of our pupils and the lives of others in their community, country and the world in general. Through our Curriculum we teach about democracy, civic responsibility, rules and laws, the monarchy, equality, values and virtues, environmental awareness and understanding of other faiths.
At St Joseph’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democratic values are an explicit part of the ethos at St Joseph’s. All adults listen to the views of the pupils and value their opinions. Pupils have further opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council and Pupil Voice interviews led by leaders.
- Each year the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the rules.
- Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. Fostering the concept and application of freedom of speech and group action to address needs and concerns are heard through our School Council. Our school council meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school. All of the council members for each year class are voted in by their class.
- House captains are voted in by their class members. They are head of the school’s teams which are based on saints of the Gospels. Team captains take on this role which includes presenting in assemblies each week in front of the whole school and parents. Team captains organise and support younger members of their team.
- The school council is always involved in interviewing new members of staff and their views listened to.
- Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school.
- The school council have been involved in developing our school behaviour policy.
- Our Play Leader scheme enables pupils voice to be heard in terms of activities during play times.
- In the run up to any elections each class will focus on the importance of elections and democracy. We sometimes invite our local MP to come in to talk to the children and facilitate a debate.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws and rules are consistently reinforced in the classroom, as well as through school assemblies. Pupils are taught to understand the need for laws – that they are there for individual protection, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
- 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 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 and Fire Service, local councillors help reinforce this message.
- Each year we participate in national anti-bullying week where we focus on rules, tolerance and respect.
- Pupils are taught about road safety and take part in Bikeability sessions each year.
- 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 provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our Online Safety, Difference & diversity and PSHE lessons/assemblies. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
- As a Catholic School mutual respect is at the heart of our values- love your neighbour as yourself. Our school ethos and behaviour policy have the values of love and respect at their core. These values form the core of our school and are constantly reinforced through school and classroom rules, the school code of conduct, assemblies as well as our behaviour policy.
- Children learn 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.
- Beginning as the pupils start school in Reception, the idea that we are all different but equal is reinforced through the EYFs curriculum by looking at differences and similarities amongst us. Parents of children from another country/culture are invited to come in and share their culture with the children.
- Each half term a child is chosen to receive the virtue award. The person receiving this award has demonstrated the virtues for that half term and shown an act of kindness/care/respect / good manners throughout the half.
- At the end of each academic year children are presented with awards. A variety of awards are presented to children who have contributed to the wider values of the school throughout their time at St Joseph’s.
- As a school we support a wide variety of charities and often have representatives from these charities into school to speak to our children. These include- CAFOD, Fr Hudson’s society, food banks, BIG brew- fair trade, NSPCC, Children in need, Macmillan cancer, Samaritan shoebox appeal- thus fostering and encouraging mutual respect and care for those in need and vulnerable. This is linked closely with our Church and Parish links.
- Each year there is a focus during October- Black History Month. During Black History Month we celebrate the history, arts and culture of black British people. This helps us all learn more about our shared History as Britons.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
- At St Joseph’s we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE, Difference and Diversity and PSHE teaching reinforce this.
- Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
- Children will have opportunities to visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
- Each year we hold a “Multi-faith week” where the whole school focuses on and learns about a different faith. In the Autumn each class has a focus on Black History week which focuses on equality for all.
- We encourage all pupils to be individuals but also to take pride in wearing their school uniform and being part of St Joseph’s. Through a united uniform, pupils grow to respect each other.
Through a wide range of activities St Joseph’s actively promotes British values and uses strategies within the National Curriculum and beyond to secure such outcomes for our children. This below outlines samples of when and where such British Values are shared. (see also our curriculum plans) The list is not exhaustive and represents only some of what we do.
- As a whole school, we have celebrated the Olympics, with an Olympic themed sports week and about the history of Olympians nationally and locally.
- The school celebrated the Platinum Jubilee anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and all year groups were given the opportunity to develop their understanding of the British Monarchy through the school’s curriculum. The children celebrated by holding a traditional street party and even more recently there has been a whole school focus on the reign of Queen Elizabeth 11 and the monarchy as we reflected on the death of Queen Elizabeth.
- We make the best use of opportunities as they arise for children to learn about events in the past which have shaped the future. All children are involved in classroom activities which focussed their thinking on Remembrance Day and to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. This was linked with a whole school assembly.
- Each year we sell poppies and have a special Mass on Remembrance Day. We hold a two-minute silence in school at 11am.
- The school celebrated the world cup.
- Throughout our curriculum children undertake a range of history topics about the development of Britain through different periods. These include how Britain has changed through periods such as the Stone Age and Iron Age, the effect of the Romans in Britain and how the Anglo-Saxon period affected change within the country. These topics alongside opportunities to study aspects throughout British History which extend pupil’s knowledge of themes, such as medicine, beyond 1066.
- In our PE lessons we actively promote the concept of “fair play”, following and developing rules, inclusion, celebrating and rewarding success, accepting defeat and participation in activities that promote kinship and affiliation with others. There are many opportunities for all pupils throughout their time in school to participate in competitions and events which promote these values. Eg. football, netball, rugby, cross country, cricket, rounders and athletics tournaments.
- On a more general level, the school undertakes assemblies which uphold traditional values of empathy, respect and tolerance- these are linked to the Catholic Pupil Profile. These are also taught within formal Difference & Diversity, PSHE and RE lessons and informally throughout the school days.