Although this is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new at Christ Church Primary. British values are promoted through what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and PHSE sessions. We further enhance this through a focused term topic in Year 3 on ‘What does it mean to be British and how can we recognise this locally.’
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ little from the values of most western European countries.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Christ Church Primary. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate customs and traditions in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the Autumn term.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Year 1- ‘What is it like in this place around us? Can we explore it’ topic ensures that children have a better understanding of their local area (Oldbury) and where their country is in the world, learning more about:
- its capital cities and counties
- 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
Year 3 - What does it mean to be British and how can we recognise this locally.’
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Christ Church Primary. We have a School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches; pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote, etc. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school. In the past, the School Council has helped to achieve our Eco Flag and Anti-Bullying Awards. They have input into policies such as Behaviour Policy and requested and gained specific resources for the classroom and outdoor learning environments.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. In KS2 they will be taking the lead in ‘parent consultations’ to explain their learning and next steps.
Rules and laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Class rules, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
- visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
- 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 lesson, for example
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Christ Church Primary is in an area which is greatly culturally diverse and we are 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 or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Christ Church Primary enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, Jigsaw (PSHE scheme) and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures
- through learning challenges and outcomes which involve the community.
- School Assemblies
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to these values. At Christ Church Primary, such instances are extremely rare but are always treated seriously.