The DfE 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 St John’s Catholic Primary School, these fundamental British values are promoted and embedded into all parts of school life. Our school ethos, our ‘St John’s Way’ and all our policies including our RE and PSHE policies, reflect these values, ensuring that all members of our school understand the importance of them and how they are essential to enable us to operate as a community.
Democracy is well represented within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our elected School Council and our regular ‘Pupil Voice’ opportunities. We are organising an annual trip to the Houses of Parliament, with year 5 being the first to visit during the Autumn term 2015.
Our school behaviour policy involves rewards, including golden time which the children get to choose and also a termly activity for the winning house team, which the pupils vote on as a house group. Through our use of the restorative justice approach, children understand that they have a right to be heard.
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 our regular teaching and learning and extra-curricular activities. We also explore and apply them when dealing with behaviour and through our school assemblies and special events. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws: that they are there to govern and protect us; the responsibilities that they involve; and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service, etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
At the beginning of each school year the children take part in creating a class charter which sets out the rules of their classroom, as well as recapping on our ‘St John’s Way’ and Rights and responsibilities.
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 their choices safely and wisely, through our provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and we advise on how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. In lessons, we allow children to have a choice of challenge, the choice of how they record their learning in project work, as well as providing them with a choice of numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around the core value of respect, as outlined in our ‘St John’s Way’. This was written by pupils and they have been part of discussions and termly assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy. Our use of the restorative justice approach builds an understanding of the need for respectful behaviour towards all members of our school.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
We are a Catholic school and as part of our ethos, we show a respect for those from other cultures, faiths and beliefs. This is achieved through enhancing our pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving our ethos have been held and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. The school celebrates diversity through holding special weeks such as Black History, Sikhism, and Judaism week. We are active members of the local community, exploring and celebrating its rich and diverse culture. We have a ‘Language of the term’ board in our entrance hall linking to languages spoken by our EAL pupils. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to visit the school to share their knowledge to enhance learning, and we visit the local Sikh temple. Issues of intolerance are dealt with immediately both individually and through whole class discussions