British Values at Sebert Wood Primary School
In June 2014, David Cameron wrote an article that emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. How well a school promotes such values is now an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process. Ofsted defines fundamental British values as ‘democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs’.
At Sebert Wood, British values are promoted in many ways, including during our school assemblies, Religious Education lessons, PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education) lessons, Philosophy time and is embedded in the social skills and spiritual and moral development whole-school approach. The values taught in these sessions are integral to our School Aims, Values and Ethos; they complement British values and reflect our whole school approach to all we do.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
The overarching aims of this provision are to:
- Enable pupils to develop self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- Enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the law of England;
- Encourage pupils to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the school community and to society;
- Enable pupils to acquire a broad general knowledge of, and respect for, public institutions and services in England;
- Further tolerance and harmony between different cultures by enabling pupils to appreciate and respect their own and other cultures;
- Encourage respect for other people;
- Encourage respect for democracy, including respect for how laws are made and applied in England.
Being Part of Britain
At Sebert Wood, we have always celebrated a pattern of traditions and festivals across the year including Harvest Festival, Remembrance Day, Easter, Shrove Tuesday and Advent. The local church and Open the Book come in to school to lead some of these celebrations. Each year we organise a range of Christmas celebrations including in-school Nativity and Christmas performances linked to the Christmas story; we visit the local church to share Christmas celebrations and Upper Key Stage 2 perform readings and carols at an evening event at Christ Church. We plan to repeat the Upper Key Stage 2 event to share the time with older residents in the area, by taking the children to Age UK Suffolk’s Day Centre to perform these carols and readings to their clients. We also invite a theatre company into school every year at Christmas to put on a pantomime for the children – a real celebration of traditional British culture. More recently we have built into our school calendar more modern ‘events’ such as Children in Need, Red Nose Day (Comic Relief) and Sports Relief. All of these events are part of our heritage and very much part of our future, and they all help to enhance the children’s experience of school in modern day Britain.
Our curriculum also helps children to understand what it means to be part of Britain. Geographically, we explore the different aspects of the British landscape, and look at how these have changed over time due to both natural forces and the intervention of man. In addition to exploring ‘Natural Britain’, we investigate Britain as a nation; we look at capital cities and counties and look at what constitutes Great Britain, and how this differs from England and the United Kingdom. We also explore our local area and look at how this relates to England and Britain, and then in turn, how Britain relates to Europe and the rest of the world.
Historically, children will find out about famous people from Britain’s past and look at the legacies that they have left behind them; they will also get to visit a number of culturally significant sites that have had a direct impact on helping to shape Britain into the nation it is today, sites such as Sutton Hoo, Duxford Imperial War Museum, Colchester Castle and the Museum of London and the V&A Museum to name but a few. By exploring Britain’s past, and how it has helped create modern Britain, we hope to enrich our children’s learning experiences and develop their knowledge and understanding of the world they live in.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Sebert Wood Primary. We have a long-established and successful School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: depending on the age of the pupils candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote for the Council. There are two representatives from each class and these pupils represent the views of their class and the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school; in the past, the School Council has helped to plan improvements to the school’s playground facilities and was heavily involved in the redevelopment of the school grounds. There are other roles and responsibilities for the older pupils where they can shape the school such as pupil eco-council, team captains, sports leaders, Junior Road Safety Officers and Cycle Champions.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
Rules and Laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own rules and expectations, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, and by building positive relationships with all our children, based on mutual respect and trust, we aim to boost children’s self-esteem and give them the confidence to make good choices. Children often find themselves in situations where they will need to make a choice; this may be about how they will complete a task in class, which extra-curricular club they want to attend after school, or what they will do when someone is unkind to them on the playground. Empowering children to make choices that are considered and safe, will help them in myriad situations, both at school and beyond.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
Like many schools in our local area, Sebert Wood does not reflect such a wide cultural diversity as that found in our major cities. With this in mind, we believe that it is extremely important that our children have learning experiences that help prepare them for later life and develop their understanding of the rich cultural diversity of our country and of British society. At Sebert Wood we promote mutual respect for one another and the world around us; we celebrate our differences’, and children at our school are taught to appreciate and respect difference in all its forms. This is supported by our PSHE curriculum, assemblies, Philosophy lessons, Religious Education and Collective Acts of Worship.
For further guidance on British Values click on Department for Education