What being 'British' means to the children of SJA
British Values at Southwater Junior Academy
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 this year.
At SJA we define these British values as:
• democracy – the respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic process
• the rule of law – the respect for the basis on which law is made and applies in England
• support for equality of opportunity for all
• individual liberty - support and respect for the liberties of all within the law
• mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
At SJA we actively promote values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupils’ characters and moral perspectives. Whilst we may have specific lessons or assemblies that focus on the above aspects, it is the day-to-day relationships and culture of SJA that ensures that the above values are lived and breathed, and not just seen as an addition to our curriculum.
Over the course of 2014/2015 all children will be involved in discussing what ‘British’ means to them and parents will be asked: ‘What to you, are British values?’
We will collate this information and plan our work for 2015/2016 around the information gathered.
Democracy is seen throughout the school. The importance of Laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is consistently reinforced throughout the regular school day. Their importance is also seen when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Pupil Council, Charity Committee, pupil questionnaires (general, PE and ICT) and the Pupil SEF. Pupils are elected by their peers for Pupil Council and for Colour Captains. Whole School Assemblies have included topics such as democracy in the UK; other forms of government including apartheid; royalty and dictatorship. As part of the Roman and Greek topics, pupils study Athenian democracy and Roman law.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we empower pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of boundaries and a safe environment. 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 and PSHE lessons. Whether it is through choice of challenge, of how they record learning, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. In Autumn 2014 we introduced a debating club to allow pupils to develop their own ideas and debate them with others. Our Rights and Responsibilities is based on the UNICEF rights respecting schools agenda.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around SJA’s Rights and Responsibilities and pupils are part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school promote respect for others and this is reinforced through our classroom and learning rules, as well as through our behaviour policy. Our playground buddies are trained in peer mediation and are very effective at resolving minor playground issues. Our RE policy follows local guidance. During their primary school years our children visit a church, a mosque and a Buddhist Temple.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity, including our annual visit and link with an ethnically diverse school in Croydon.
Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE.
Alexis Conway October
Southwater Junior Academy