British Values at Eldon Primary School
The British Government defined its concept of ‘British Values’ in its 2011 Prevent Strategy, and since 2014 the Department for Education has required 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”. Eldon Primary School prides itself on being a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, meaning that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is embedded in its ethos and culture; this Convention is based on many of the same values as those listed in the Department for Education’s definition of British Values.
Our School has a wonderfully diverse community and welcomes and values everyone, whatever their ability, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality or background. Currently we have children and families who originate from thirteen different countries worldwide. As a primary school, we believe we have a vital role in combating discrimination and promoting fairness, justice and equality through our teaching and in the role models we offer. We teach the children to be responsible citizens and positive representatives of the United Kingdom within the wider world. Promoting British Values is, therefore, an intrinsic part of all we do. We specifically promote the four key British Values listed by the DfE through our curriculum and also in the following ways:
· We have a School Council, with representatives elected by their classmates each year, following lively hustings speeches delivered through our Radio Station. This Council has its own development plan. We also invite direct pupil voice via formal pupil surveys and informal information gathering opportunities. All these channels ensure that the voices of pupils within the school are heard, and demonstrate how democratic election processes work in practice.
· We provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of, and respect for, the major democratic institutions of this country. This includes learning about their historical origins, as appropriate.
· We hold a whole-school assembly every year devoted to the theme of Democracy and “Taking Responsibility”.
· On a daily basis, we ensure that pupils are listened to by adults and taught to listen to one another. We teach children how to debate respectfully.
· All members of our School are expected to contribute actively and thoughtfully to their community. This is evidenced through our termly ‘Responsibilities Board’ in the hall.
· The School’s leadership also strives to model the values of transparency and accountability in its own actions and governance.
The rule of law
· All families, upon first joining the School, sign Home-School Agreements outlining their rights and responsibilities (including Eldon’s Code of Conduct on pupil behaviour); pupils sign similar contracts for particular purposes, such as responsible usage of school emails. We also use a Class Charter and Golden Time system in class where children demonstrate their achievement towards the range of responsibilities in school.
· We teach children to distinguish right from wrong, drawing parallels between rule breaking and behaviour management at school and in society generally, involving pupils in understanding what makes a disciplinary action fair and just, and modelling consistency in the exercise of authority.
· Within the curriculum, we teach respect for the civil and criminal law of England, and we hold a whole-school assembly every year explicitly on the theme of Rule of Law. Visiting speakers, from the Police for example, reinforce these messages to pupils. Year 5 and 6 pupils engage in lessons about our local community and aspects of citizenship through our Community Champions Course.
· Our School places special emphasis on an enriched and creative curriculum, and the amount of freedom given to children to make choices as learners, both in class and in their extra-curricular activities. We ensure children’s interests are celebrated and shared. Where possible these form part of our curriculum.
· We hold a whole-school assembly every year on the theme of Individual Liberty, discussing both its significance and its reasonable limits. The history curriculum, and particularly our teaching of evolving ‘equalities’ through history, emphasises this value.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
- We teach both self-respect and respect for others, developing tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions and celebrating the diverse backgrounds of everyone at our School. Children are encouraged to discuss and show tolerance of all differences between people, whether those differences are in their faith, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation or family structure. Fortunately, we currently employ staff who between them are representative of the major world faiths and some staff who do not have a belief system too. This is a tremendous resource and one which is well used to support a whole range of learning.
- We hold at least two whole-school assemblies every year on the theme of mutual respect and tolerance (“Difference is good”), as well as a programme of assemblies throughout the calendar that explores the world’s major religions and their festivals.
- As a non-denominational school, mutual toleration of all beliefs is central to our ethos and therefore to all our religious education and PSMSC (Personal, Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) teaching.
At Eldon Primary School, we believe it is important we explore diversity with the children, so that, beyond just tolerating people who are different to themselves, they are respectful. Assemblies and learning experiences across the school are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of beliefs, countries, faiths and cultures beyond our children’s experiences. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforces this. Our recent twinning of a school in North West Pakistan, Noor Model School has opened up many opportunities to teach and reinforce all aspects of our British Values, we adhere to and promote actively.
Finally, while we respect freedom of expression, Eldon Primary School is committed to challenging anyone who promotes views or behaviour – such as religious extremism – contrary to British Values or other universal human rights.