Promoting British Values at St Nicholas CE (VC) First School
The DfE have 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 this year (2014). At St Nicholas CE (VC) First School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
We have a school council from Y1 – Y4 which meets regularly to discuss issues that affect our children and lets them have an influence upon their community. . Every child on the school council is voted in by their class. School council members meet regularly and feedback on discussions to their classes. Every child at St Nicholas has a voice and is able to influence decisions and actions that affect them through the class council structure.
Through our curriculum children are taught about, and encouraged to respect, public institutions and services, this was very evident in our Emergency services week of October 2016, where children learnt about the valuable and finite public resources that we access in Britain. Children and their parents were fully supportive of this work and commented positively on the impact this had on the children.
Children are regularly asked for their opinions and feedback through daily discussions, school council meetings, online surveys and as part of school monitoring and evaluation systems (e.g pupil interviews etc).
Pupils are selected at random for pupil meetings with members of the senior leadership team to seek their views and opinions on a range of school and community issues.
Teachers model and invite children to share in the democratic process and embed this through the curriculum and organisation of school life, e.g the vote to choose house names in July 2014, school council elections, standing for school monitor jobs.
All parents, carers and children are invited to share their views on school and community issues and are offered a number of means through which to do so, including questionnaires, parent meetings and workshops. The door to the community is open at St Nicholas.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced at St Nicholas CE (VC) First School.
Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and 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 and Fire Service help reinforce this message, e.g Annual Police Cadets Scheme, Emergency Services Week etc.
Pupils are taught that rules are applied consistently to all and that we are all expected to follow the St Nicholas School Rules which are positive statements about the community we want our children to learn and thrive within. Each day children have a fresh start within their classrooms so as to show that they have taken on board any comments or sanctions to improve their behaviour.
At St Nicholas First 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 informed choices, through a safe environment and an 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 and PSHCE work.
St Nicholas First School has a zero-tolerance to bullying policy and any disputes, fall outs or upsets are taken seriously, dealt with swiftly and investigated fully. Rigorous Behaviour and Safety policies support our children to be independent and responsible.
At St Nicholas First School we seek to empower our children to take responsibility and ownership of key issues as well as personal safety and well being. E.g All children from Y1-4 in October 2016 were taught CPR and how to put a casualty in the recovery position.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
Our Religious Education and PSHCE curriculum teaches children about other faiths and cultures and provides children with opportunities to learn from as well as about the communities that make up Britain.
St Nicholas First School provides opportunities for the children to visit places of significant cultural interest, places of worship and we actively encourage visitors from a range of communities and organisations into school. We actively celebrate and encourage the sharing of diversity and want our children to value similarities and differences within our community. We have frequent multi-faith, multi-cultural visitors to school as well as visits out e.g Annual visit to Hindu Temple, visits to church, visitors in to lead worship, international projects (Send A Cow), Africa links, Diwali day. Whilst a Church of England school, governors and staff celebrate and acknowledge other faith festivals and celebrations in public communications also, e.g Happy Eid or Diwali messages in school newsletter.
Children are encouraged and regularly support charities and plan fundraising and awareness raising activities to support that charity (e.g Ebola Crisis and Sunnyside Dog Kennels, Race For Life, Macmillan Coffee Morning to name a few). Children are actively taught the importance and value of contributing to their communities through good actions and deeds, e.g visits to retirement homes to sing carols for residents etc.