The Department for Education has 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, and these values were reiterated in 2014. At Elaine, British values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
At the beginning of each year children affirm the school’s expectations and the rights and responsibilities associated with these. Every child and staff member takes responsibility for instilling these values into the school community. The children and staff actively engage with each other to create harmonious learning environments where everyone is responsible for the high expectations we expect.
Elaine has a Junior Leadership Team (JLT) who are elected by their peers. Within class, children have a chance to write their own proposal and give a speech as to why they should be a class representative. The class then decide who will be best at representing them. Our children understand that being a member of the JLT comes with great responsibility and a commitment to giving their best to school life.
Democracy is taught during assemblies and class-based PSHE sessions. Children regularly get opportunities to express their views in school through Pupil Voice interviews and questionnaires. For example, children have an annual questionnaire where they are able to put forward their views about the school.
THE RULE OF LAW
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, is consistently reinforced at Elaine.
Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school through our school values. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves, and the consequences when laws are broken.
Through our whole school approach, we enable children to develop the language and strategies to solve conflict and to right wrongs. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help to reinforce this message.
At Elaine we offer a wide range of exciting opportunities for children to be leaders in many contexts, and they understand that the rules they have created are there to keep them safe and happy in all the learning they take part in. This extends to visits and learning outside of the school, acting as ambassadors while on school trips. This level of responsibility and understanding from our children means that teachers can organise engaging and exciting school trips.
At Elaine, 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 our young pupils to make informed choices, through a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand, and exercise their rights and personal freedoms. They are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-Safety and PSHE lessons.
From the very start of their school life children are encouraged to challenge themselves by giving them ownership of their own learning. Children have next steps shared with them, whether verbally or with feedback in books, so that they know exactly what they can do to progress. Children are excited to respond and to forward their own learning and to achieve their goals.
Respect and responsibility are key values that permeate all aspects of school life at Elaine. They are fundamental to the way we support and care for each other, for the community and for the environment.
At Elaine, we value the close, positive relationships between all adults and children, and see this as being key to enabling all children to access their learning, in a welcoming and safe environment. Assemblies regularly cover the theme of ‘respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions related to what this means and how we show it. 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.
When a child does well, their achievement is displayed for everyone to learn from their positive attitude and hard work. Learning and effort are highly respected and the whole school is focused on developing a great sense of worth and achievement.
TOLERANCE OF THOSE OF DIFFERENT FAITHS AND BELIEFS
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by educating them and giving them opportunities to experience different faiths and beliefs, be they similar or different to their own. We are situated in a diverse area, leading to a rich cultural and social diversity within our school, which is nurtured so our children can gain positive experiences from their fellow peers.