In June 2014 David Cameron spoke about the important role of British values in our education system. How well schools promote such values are now part of the Ofsted inspection process.
The promotion of British values is not something new to our curriculum at Leesons. Such values are at the core of all we do whether it be through our assemblies, our RE curriculum, our personal, social, health and citizenship lessons or through other areas of the curriculum. The term British values can be somewhat misleading as these values are integral to so many countries across the world.
Below are some examples of how British values are promoted in our school curriculum.
Being Part of Britain
Our curriculum reflects, celebrates and teaches children about diversity. For example, in RE children learn about the six principal religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. They compare and contrast beliefs and customs. Christianity is taught in every year group, with Christmas and Easter given fresh treatment each year to develop the children’s learning progressively.
Throughout the year we celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms this means we celebrate events such as Christmas, Harvest, Mothering Sunday, Remembrance Day. We have a Christmas pantomime in school. In additon, we always take part in key British events such as the Olympics or celebrations for the Queen such as the Jubilee. For such events we hold parades, tea parties, concerts and do additional curriculum classroom work about how such events relate to being British.
The annual election and work of our pupil voice groups reflect British democracy. Our pupil voice groups are proactive in having their voice heard.
The Charity Group organises our charity work throughout the year. This includes fun days for Children In Need, Comic Relief and other charities close to our hearts, such as Diabetes Awareness. This fostering of a commitment to charities is another way in which we teach a sense of Britishness.
Rules and Laws
Children are taught the importance of rules and laws and how the ones in school reflect those in our country. Children are taught the reasons behind rules and that they are there to keep us safe and happy. The pupils decided on the school Behaviour Code and positive behaviour reinforcements are operated throughout the school. Visits from authority figures in society such as the fire brigade, the local community police officers, doctors, dentists, nurses and governors demonstrate to children how rules and laws are an integral part of a safe and happy Britain.
Alongside rules and laws we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express our views and beliefs as an integral part of what it is to be British. Children may choose to take part in our very wide range of extra-curricular activities. They have a very broad choice of lunchtime play areas and activities. They are involved in their own learning and respond to their learning by feedback systems and self- review of marking. They are taught how to use their choices and freedoms safely though our curriculum in areas such as e-safety, anti-bullying, sex and relationship education and drugs awareness education.
Mutual respect and tolerance
Leesons is a wonderfully culturally diverse school with a highly regarded inclusive ethos and practice. Multi-culturalism is on the increase and we celebrate this. Our children are taught and know how to show respect to everyone no matter what our differences may be. We celebrate this diversity in our curriculum. Examples include our celebrations of different religious festivals throughout the year, the participation of all our children, including those with disability, in all our curriculum activities and the regular staff training we undertake to ensure this inclusive practice remains outstanding.
Behaviours which are contrary to these British values are actively challenged, whether they come from children, parents or staff. Such instances are extremely rare in school and we are proud of the reputation we have in our local community.
British values are encompassed into nearly everything we do here at Leesons. Our lessons regularly involve choice, discussion and debate. We ensure that our curriculum is broad so that it covers:
- Different religions
- Important historical events both in Britain and further afield, including slavery and the right to vote
- National days of significance,
- Pupil voice groups
- PSHE areas to teach acceptance and tolerance.
- Art and Literacy work influenced by a range of artists/writers.
- Work with the greater community.
It is important to us that children do speak freely and learn to use their voice in safe surroundings where respect for different views are established and radical views challenged. Everyone at Leesons counts and so does their point of view which is why British values is so important.