Promoting British Values at Martin Primary School
The Department for Education (DfE) requires schools to foster pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development and to actively promote British values and to ensure pupils are well prepared for life in modern Britain.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy – the values of:
the rule of law
tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
As well as promoting and embedding fundamental British values, schools also have a responsibility to challenge pupils, staff or parents/carers expressing opinions contrary to these values.
At Martin Primary school these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Every pupil in our school has a voice through our School Council, which meets on a weekly basis. All classes in Key stages 1 and 2 have two representatives, elected by pupils, sitting on the School Council. The Council discusses ways to improve the life of the school, making important decisions about how money is spent. When the recent interviews to appoint a new head teacher were carried out in April 2015, the School Council was involved in this process and had their say, too.
Children have an annual questionnaire where they are able to put forward their views about the school.
All subject leaders spend time asking children about the curriculum, which forms a valuable part of our monitoring process. This assists us to make changes and to develop the curriculum, showing respect for ‘pupil voice’.
Captains of our four school houses, Earth, Air, Water and Fire are also elected by pupils.
Our curriculum offers many opportunities to explore aspects of democracy with topics such as The Ancient Greeks, The Romans, The Gunpowder Plot and the Early Lawmakers.
In 2015, children from Year 6 visited The Guardian newspaper, and looked at the idea of a ‘free’ press and how, in a democratic country, different viewpoints can be taken when news stories are put together.
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, through assemblies and when dealing with aspects of behaviour.
Pupils are taught the value and reason 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, Fire Brigade and our Y6 Young Citizens day are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
At the beginning of each school year, pupils in all classes draw up their own set of class rules which everyone (children and adults) signs to show they are committed to adhering to them. This reinforces the idea of collective responsibility for law making.
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 pupils to make choices safely.
Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms safely – for example, through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. As from September 2015 our assembly themes are to be based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC): more news on this in September.
Whether it be through choice of level of challenge, of how they record their work, how they record and show their homework, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Pupils are taught that individual liberty comes at a cost and we remember those who have given their lives to ensure our liberty. Every year on November 11th, all classes from Nursery upwards make a poppy wreath and join in with our Remembrance Day services, which includes a two minute silence.
Part of our school ethos, encapsulated in The ‘Martin’ Way, focuses on core values such as ‘Respect’ and ‘Inclusivity’. Pupils are encouraged to have respect for themselves, for others and for their environment. Our curriculum allows us to consider respect for our world when we investigate topics such as Our School Field and the wider topics such as Rainforests and Deforestation.
Martin Primary School has established strong international links over several years and whole school projects, such as ‘Connecting Classrooms’ allow us to consider respect for each other at a global level. From September 2015 onwards we are working towards becoming a Global Learning Programme (GLP) expert centre for north London.
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Martin Primary school is a diverse school. We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education lessons and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. The children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
The school has a high profile ‘Language of the Month’ that runs throughout the year, linking to languages spoken by our EAL pupils.
What does this mean for our curriculum?
There is explicit teaching through:
PSHE and Citizenship
Assemblies, collective worship and celebrations
Humanities/ cross-curricular topics such as ‘How has Britain changed since Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne?’ (Year 2 topic)
Embedded in all subjects through:
Welfare and safety of all pupils
High expectations of behaviour and manners
Year 2 Celebrating the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II