Promoting British Values

Promoting British Values at The Winchcombe Primary School

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.”

The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister. At The Winchcombe Primary School this isn’t anything new as we believe that we do prepare children for living in modern Britain. Three years ago, we introduced the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into our school and although they are not identical to the ‘British Values’ currently promoted, they have been created out of the ethos and context of our school.

The Unicef UK Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) supports schools across the UK to embed children’s rights in their ethos and culture. The award recognises achievement in putting the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of a school’s policy and practice. It is based on principles of equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation.

We successfully achieved the Bronze award for being a ‘Rights Respecting’ School. These articles/values are prominently displayed around the school and have a high profile in every classroom. The articles correlate very well to the British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. This forms the basis of how we deliver the curriculum and is implicit within school policy and practice which are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:

Democracy

Article 13: Please listen to me

Every child must be free to say what they think and to seek and receive all kinds of information, as long as it is within the law.

Every child has the right to have a say in all matters affecting them, and to have their views taken seriously.

Democracy is rife within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Pupil Council and Pupil questionnaires.

Children who wish to be part of the School Council are encouraged to put themselves forward to represent their class. They have the opportunity to explain how they will be the voice for their peers. A secret ballot is held and pupils with the highest vote become school councillors. Classes are represented from years 2 to 6 and the pupils meet every two weeks.

The School Council organised and ran a cake sale which raised over £80 for Cancer Research. They have helped to raise awareness of recycling in school by holding a recycling bin design competition. The winner has their poster on the classroom recycling bins. They have a lunchtime rota for ensuring the school library is tidy and organised. The school council are also involved in the interviewing process for new staff at The Winchcombe.

Each class is responsible for having a school council meeting once a week where children can voice their opinions/worries/ideas etc. The school council members then feed this back during their lunchtime meeting and can take further action by alerting senior members of staff.

There were concerns about arguments at lunch time and play time so the each class came up with rules for a playground charter which were taken from the school Rights Respecting Articles. The School Council chose the top 8 rules and typed up the charter to discuss with their class. There have also been debates about the tuck shop, changing the school uniform, having litter monitors, peer mentoring, raising money for charity and ensuring all children are safe and happy at school.

Yr 5 and 6 pupils participated in a project ‘Dare to be Different’ looking at individual needs and differences, both those visual and hidden.  Pupils have spoken openly about their needs and opinions on how they are treated, i.e. dyslexia, Tourette and autism.

The Rule of Law

Article 19: Please keep me safe:

Governments must do all they can to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment.

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; Fire Service; etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.

Children across the school are taught that rules keep us safe and happy.

Individual Liberty

Article 27: Please shelter me

Every child has the right to a standard of living that is good enough to meet their physical, social and mental needs.

Article 39: Please help me when I am hurt

Children neglected, abused or exploited must receive special help to help them recover their health, dignity and self-respect

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 the 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 challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.

Mutual Respect

Article 5: Please respect me

Governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and carers to direct and guide their children as they grow up, so that they can enjoy their rights properly.

Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around our ‘Rights Respecting’ articles such as ‘Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions through ‘Circle time’ and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. The school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy.

Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs

Article 14: Please let me believe

Every child has the right to think and believe what they want and to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights.

This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.