Fundamental British Values
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School Fundamental British Values Statement:
In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
Although in 2015-16 this is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education, PSHCE, RSED, Nurture Base and Circle Time sessions. The values are integral to our long-standing vision and ethos.
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. This is in line with our Behaviour and Relationships Policy 2016.
The term ‘British Values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values. The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.
Being Part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Blessed Sacrament. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the Autumn term and what could be more British than a trip to a pantomime around Christmas time! We also value and celebrate national events, a recent example being Remembrance Day in November. Some of our children will also be visiting London and attending at Westminster Abbey to celebrate Commonwealth Day.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our Learning Challenges ensures that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Children are taught different aspects of British history and about how our country has developed as it has.
Famous British people and their effect on British life are investigated. Eg Year 1 investigate the impact made by Betty Braddock.
Local history and our place in the world is also developed, with children visiting such places as Speke Hall and the Western Approaches museum (also The Cavern!) Here they learn what part their locality has played in developing the Britain of today
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Made up of representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly as Infants, Juniors and as a whole school council to discuss issues raised by the different classes. It has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school; in the past, the School Council has planned many changes that have affected the whole school community such as choosing the school badge and contributing to the new Primary school choice of uniform. The Council are actively involved in recruitment as was shown with their participation in the recruitment of our new head teacher. They also provide teachers with feedback, such as reviewing themed weeks.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
children agree their Class rules and relationships and the rights associated with these; all children contribute to the drawing up of these
using Pupil Interviews per term; children are asked to respond and reflect on the teaching, learning, progress, behaviour and safety by members of the LMT and SLT
children nominate various charities, then within their own class, select some to forward to the School Council, who then vote to decide upon which school charities which we support over the course of the year
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. This is well evidenced in our P4C curriculum. We encourage children 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 Class rules and relationships, 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. Each class also lays out for the year how they intend to ‘live out’ our Mission Statement by what they say and what they do.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
during Religious Education ‘Come and See’ lessons that take place daily in our Catholic school, when rules for particular ‘other faiths’ are also thought about
during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules –for example the rights to be safe on social media and fair rules in sports.
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, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
choices about what learning challenge or activity they wish to pursue.
choices about how they record their learning
choices around the participation in extra-curricular
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our E-safety lessons, SEAL lessons ,in regular Circle Time with the Learning Mentor’s and in the P4C curriculum which the school follows.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary is in an area which is culturally diverse and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect is at the heart of our aims and ethos – To develop understanding of and respect for a wide range of religious values, languages and cultural traditions and different ways of life – and it’s one of our three school rules: We respect everyone and everything.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
through Religious Education ‘Come and See’, prayer, Circle Time, Phase assemblies and in other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures (in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example)
enjoying a depth and breadth of study during regular Themed Weeks for Art, DT, Spanish, Music and Science where sometimes we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the world (whilst at other times we might consider groups or individuals who might be vulnerable in some way, such as those with mental health issues or the homeless).
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School, such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our Behaviour Management Policy.