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 for those with different faiths and beliefs.’
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated in 2014. At Old Mill these values are reinforced regularly on a daily basis and through our Curriculum.
Democracy is promoted within school. Pupils have their voice heard through our School Council and Pupil questionnaires.
Each year the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised by pupils in school. The council promotes our ‘Pupil Values’ within school, recognising peers who demonstrate these in assembly. The council members for each year group are voted in by their class, through democratic election processes.
In addition, Eco-Warriors are voted in by their class .
Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school.
There is also a school worry box where children can express their views and concerns.
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, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message. Families sign our 'Home School Agreement' which includes our Pupil Values. Pupils who bring a mobile phone into school sign a Code of Conduct, before being allowed the phone on site.
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 choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they conduct a Science experiment, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, of what books they choose to read, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Pupils in Year 6 volunteer in school to do things which benefit the school community. These include Sports leaders at lunch, office receptionists, assembly monitors, lining up leaders etc.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our core and pupil values. 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. We always mark events such as 'Anti-Bullying Week'. We promote respect through R Time and through curriculum opportunities which promote different faith groups and traditions. Pupils in Year 4 apply to become 'Playground Pals', ensuring every child is treated with respect at lunchtimes.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
At Old Mill we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE, PSHE and Citizenship teaching reinforce this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children in every year group visit places of worship that are important to different faiths. Festivals such as 'Diwali' are celebrated on an annual basis. We have been awarded the International Schools Award by working with other schools such as those in Gambia and we are currently embarking on a Global Learning Project.
At Old Mill we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views. Such extremist views which are manifested into any pupil will be approached as a child protection incident.