Promoting British Values in Our School
In November 2014 the Department for Education published guidance on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.
The guidance states that schools have a duty to ‘actively 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.
These values were first set out by the government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011.
At Thorntree School we actively promote these values in every aspect of school life. Topical events are highly important at Thorntree and become a big occasion for all children in the school. Recent events include Remembrance Day (particularly the Centenary in 2014), the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta and the Tim Peake space mission rocket launch in December 2015.
The British value of Democracy
At the beginning of each year classes make a plan that outlines the rights and responsibilities of every member of the class.
Every class has two School Councillors. Interested candidates write a mini manifesto which they present to the class. A polling station is then set up in the hall for all children to cast their vote, instilling in the children an understanding of how citizens can influence decision making through the democratic process.
The School Council meets regularly and its role includes supporting the SLT in making decisions about school life, managing a small budget, gathering opinions of the children in their class, fund raising and suggesting and implementing ways in which school life can be improved for all children.
Children who are unsuccessful in becoming School Counsellors automatically become part of the School Forum. The school forum members support the SLT by sharing their views on whole school topics such as the curriculum, playground provision and promoting good behaviour. They also support the School Council in carrying out their duties.
Democracy is taught during assemblies, circle times and PSHE sessions. Children regularly get opportunities to express their views in school through Pupil Voice interviews and questionnaires.
The British value of the Rule of Law
Children at Thorntree are taught to follow the rules they have helped to set in their class.
They also follow whole school rules and the playground rules that were devised by the School Council. All parents sign a home/school agreement that outlines the rights and responsibilities of children, parents and staff at our school.
School policies reflect our ethos of inclusivity and diversity and ensure that processes are clear and fairly administered.
Children are taught why we need rules to govern us in and out of school. Teachers explain that with rules come responsibilities and consequences for when rules are broken. The Behaviour Management Policy at Thorntree was rewritten in 2014 and is regularly reviewed and amended to ensure that there is a failsafe system in place to ensure all children feel safe, happy and able to thrive at Thorntree.
The school uses Restorative Justice approaches, which are often more effective in resolving an issue than simply imposing a sanction. Through the process of Restorative Justice the ‘victims’ are given an active role in expressing their feelings following an issue with another child. ‘Offenders’ are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and to repair the harm they have done in a positive way.
Behaviour at Thorntree is good and the children are a credit to the school when they partake in school trips and learning away from the school.
The British Value of Individual Liberty
Freedom of speech is actively encouraged at Thorntree and children are taught how to voice their own views whilst showing respect for the views of others.
Children regularly showcase their opinions, beliefs and cultures by requesting to plan and lead an assembly. Topics have included feminism, Divali and Christmas.
Every year the Year 5 class takes part in Kidscape bullying intervention training. This helps the children to feel more confident and safe, feel more able to help others, learn bullying defense skills and deal with difficult situations better. Our robust anti bullying policy ensures that any reported issues of bullying are dealt with quickly and stringently.
We aim to provide pupils with the ICT skills necessary to become independent learners. We promote the safe and sensible use of technology through a highly important E-safety curriculum where children are constantly reminded of the risks involved in using social media sites.
The British Value of Respect and Tolerance
At Thorntree, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs underpins our ethos and values as does the understanding that everyone is different and that these differences should be celebrated.
Children are taught about respect for different cultures and beliefs through our RE curriculum, assemblies and special school events such as our yearly Carol Concert at the local church.
Visits to places of worship feature highly in our RE curriculum and as children have told us that this is where they learn the most about the different faiths, we are introducing more regular visits.
As a dyslexia friendly and fully inclusive school, we understand and celebrate that all children learn in different ways and need different strategies and resources to support their learning. We foster a culture of understanding in each class so that children feel safe to use the methods and resources they need to help them learn best. During the annual Brain Awareness Week children learn about their preferred learning styles and how our brains work in different ways.
We ensure that when historical figures and people of scientific importance are studied, men and women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds are included.
Children’s work is valued and displayed to a high standard in the classroom and around the school. Children are praised for their efforts as well as their achievements.