In June 2014, David Cameron highlighted 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 focus.
However, this is not something new at Gt Whelnetham School. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during Collective Worship, Religious Education, philosophy and our focus on the world of work.
We uphold and teach pupils about the British Values which are defined as:
- rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect
- tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
- Ofsted grade of ‘Outstanding' behaviour (December 2007)
- School Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) grade of 'Outstanding' (January 2013)
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Gt Whelnetham. 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. Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
- Its capital city and cities, counties, rivers and mountains
- How ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and the ‘United Kingdom’.
- Where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world.
Historically: We visit different times in history through topic based work on a two year rolling programme. Children learn about different periods of life both nationally and locally including different aspects of life.
Democracy is an important value at our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council. The election of members reflects our British electoral system and
demonstrates democracy in action. Pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret etc. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues and is genuinely able to effect change within the school.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
- Children agree their class rules
- Children have opportunities to talk to school governors
- Children are asked to respond to questionnaires.
- Children are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern for each other. They know that it is the right of every individual to have their opinions and to have their voices heard.
- We encourage pupils 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.
The importance of laws and rules, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days. 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. Rules and laws are reinforced in different ways:
- Visits from authorities such as the police etc.
- During Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
- During other school subjects where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports
- session for example.
Pupils are actively encouraged to make choices at our school, knowing that they are in a safe and
supportive environment. As a school we provide boundaries for our children to make choices safely,
through the provision of a safe environment and planned curriculum. Pupils 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 teaching and PSHE lessons.
- Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, e.g. choose the level of challenge in some lessons and are becoming increasingly more involved in child–led learning.
- Children are also encouraged to understand the consequences between making a good choice and a bad choice in relation to behaviour.
- Within Forest Schools activities where children guide their own learning and carry out risk assessments.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy are based around core Christian values such as ‘respect’ and ‘responsibility’ and these values determine how we live as a community at Gt Whelnetham Church of England School. Collective Worship themes are based on ‘Values for Life’ and are central to how we expect everyone to go about their life at our school. Children and adults alike, including visitors, are challenged if they are disrespectful in any way. Values are highly visible around the school and can be seen in posters, certificates and as part of our agreed codes. Our SIAMS inspection confirms this is an outstanding aspect of life at Gt Whelnetham Church of England School.
Gt Whelnetham Church of England School is proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect is at the heart of our aims and ethos. 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 etc. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an impact on their own rights and the rights of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
- Enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity in our local community which is by and large white British.
- Collective Worship and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE.
- We are very proud to be linked to West Special School Primary School in Kenya and our Kenyan brothers and sisters’ are represented through photos around the school ‘Links with schools abroad ensure that pupils develop an understanding of cultural diversity and can explore issues relating to equality of opportunity and quality of life.’ SIAMs 2013.
- Using opportunities such as the Olympic values to study and learn about life and culture in other countries.
- Through Religious Education, PHSE and 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.
- Enjoying a depth of study during whole school enrichment days.
- Sadly no school can guarantee that there will never be any instances which are contrary to these values. At Gt Whelnetham such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our behaviour and equalities policy.