The DfE have recently 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 these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister. At Alderman Peel High School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is rife within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Student Parliament, Eco Council and Pupil questionnaires. Elections for School Council representatives are undertaken in each class. Children are always able to voice their opinions and we foster an environment where children are safe to disagree with each other.
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. 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service; Collapsed School Days are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils 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 young pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety (safer Internet Day in 2015), assemblies and Collapsed Learning Days. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of curriculum in Year 9, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Also, through the curriculum students learn to understand the importance of liberty e.g. in History about Civil Rights, Slavery and the Suffragette Movement. Also, in RS students learn about religious freedoms in the UK. In Business Studies students learn about their rights and responsibilities under laws such as Health & Safety, Freedom of Information, Copyright and Consumer Protection Act.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour teaching has revolved around our Values such as ‘Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. The school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy. We also reward pupils who demonstrate that they are a good “Citizen” to others around the school.
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and Collapsed School Days e.g. India and China Days. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.