The DfE have 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 the Prime Minister has reiterated these values this year. The Office for Standards in Education insist that all schools teach their students about the four main British Values:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance
Democracy is the system of government in which people choose leaders by voting. In Chancellor's School,
we teach the rise of democracy in the nineteenth century Britain in Year 8 History lessons.
We also demonstrate democracy in practice, each form votes for their own form captain and house representatives. This ensures that all students are involved in the school council system which provides a forum for students to discuss issues relevant to their experience of school life and to engage in projects to improve the learning culture, the school environment and support a charity.
The School Council has made a number of significant improvements to the school including updating the uniform and improving the school’s behaviour for learning policy with the achievement and behaviour points.
The role of democracy was reinforced when the school held its own mock general election where students throughout the school were then given the opportunity to vote. Prior to voting students discussed the importance of democracy and were shown videos of the main parties running for election, discussed their policies and the possible outcome of the General Election. Students also took part in a mock referendum about whether to leave the European Union or not.
The Rule of Law
The rule of law is the legal principle that laws should govern a nation, as opposed to the arbitrary decisions of individuals.
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. Students 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.
Students recognise the difference between right and wrong, understand that actions have consequences, and apply this in their own lives by respecting English civil and criminal law. In addition, during How to Thrive lesson students study ‘crime and punishment’ and ‘drug and alcohol awareness’ at KS3 to reinforce the belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions.
In Britain, there is a long history of individual being free to exercise those rights outside of government control, such as freedom of speech. Within school, students 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 students to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety guide and Extended Learning Days (ELDs).
Students are given the freedom to make choices whether it is through choice of challenge or participation in extensive extra-curricular clubs and opportunities. They have a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves and others, and the world around them, and participate actively in artistic, sporting or cultural activities.
A variety of PSHE activities are offered to help pupils to make informed choices about their futures e.g. ‘The Real Game‘ and ‘Fast Tomato’ during the ELD on careers in the Spring Term each year.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and those without faith is an important British Value. Our approach to school assemblies and behaviour is to have a values led approach. ‘Respect’ is an important value of the schools community code with all members of the school community treating each other with respect. Students have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown e.g. show racism the red card. Students also are mindful of other pupils within their classes whom are also demonstrating such values. Mutual respect is an integrated part of classroom behaviour, as well as our whole school approach to behaviour.
Through timetabled RE lessons students are reflective about their own beliefs and perspectives on life, and the extent to which they are the same as/different to others’ faith, feelings and values. Students are encouraged to show an interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues and appreciate the viewpoints of others. The school’s PSHE curriculum provides opportunities to openly tackle controversial issues and challenge misconceptions. Students have the opportunity to visit places of significant cultural interest and places of worship e.g. the Year 7 Sikh Temple Trip. In addition, we actively encourage visitors from a range of communities and organisations into the school.
The school promotes an environment where all students work and socialise with students from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, co-operating well, celebrating diversity and resolving conflicts effectively. Ethnic minorities are included in all aspects of the school e.g. leadership roles, sport, drama, music etc.