The DfE states that there is a 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.”
As a Church of England School we have chosen our Christian Values of Friendship, Wisdom, Koinonia and Endurance which play an integral part of our school ethos. However we also promote, embrace and reinforce implicitly and explicitly the important values included in the statement above.
These are values which are important within our school community and which will be important throughout life. In all that we do we strive to share, encourage and demonstrate positive values with our children, in order that they understand them and strive to live by them.
Through promoting these values we aim to achieve:
- A welcoming environment
- Positive behaviour and attitudes
- High standards of achievement
- A calm and purposeful environment
- Positive relationships
- A range of learning experiences which will enable our children to grow and develop into reflective and responsible learners
At Sissinghurst VA Church of England Primary School we are committed to the development of positive community links and the prevention of extremism and radicalisation both within our school’s physical boundaries and within our local, national and global environments. We are also committed to responding to community concerns in a positive way which supports British democratic society.
We believe that sharing our values with parents, carers and our community is essential in supporting the children through their journey in school and life. We acknowledge and understand the importance of the role that our community has to play and appreciate the need to inform them of the values work that we do. We do this through our school website and newsletters, through our Trinity Church Sissinghurst, school collective worships and assemblies, and inviting parents and carers to share in the life of the school.
Here are some examples of how we promote British Values within our pupil’s school experiences:
Democracy is embedded within Sissinghurst, with both adults and children respecting the right for individuals to have their voices heard. Our School Council (which consists of two elected members from each class from year R-6), reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action. They meet regularly to discuss a range of issues. These issues include social and moral elements of school life, matters concerning our eco-school work/projects, charity fundraising and modeling positive behaviour to their peers. The areas for discussion are then fed back to the rest of the class, when all children share their views and thoughts. Elections take place in September each year for roles of responsibility in the school. Pupils are invited to apply for these positions and elections take place. Year R and Year 5/6 have a ‘Buddy’ system which supports the younger children’s integration into school. Pupils are empowered to be involved in decision making processes and this is embedded in our school from Year R to Year Six.
The Rule of Law is included implicitly in our Behaviour Policy, with each teacher discussing these rules with their pupils at the beginning of every academic year. A code of conduct for each class is devised with the children. These rules are revisited regularly through PSHCE lessons, assemblies and class circle times and there are clear sanctions for broken rules. We ensure that children understand that school and class rules are there to protect us and are essential for our wellbeing and safety. Elements of the history also enable children to explore the roles of law and authority in the past. The children are taught the value and reasons behind laws that govern and protect us and the responsibilities and consequences when laws are broken. Every child discusses and signs a Pupil e-Safety Acceptable Usage Pledge. We encourage visits from community authority figures such as the Local Police and Fire Service, who all help to reinforce this message. We have a restorative approach to pupil behaviour.
Individual Liberty – we encourage our children to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Through our PSHCE lessons we encourage children to know and understand their rights and personal freedoms. The children are advised how to exercise these safely. Adults in the school revisit these themes through assemblies and circle times. The importance of making safe choices when using the Internet is explored regularly through the Computing curriculum and shared with the whole school and stakeholders in the school newsletter, on our website/learning platform and assemblies. Children are invited to make choices within the curriculum around challenge, recording methods and homework.
Mutual Respect – our whole school ethos is built around mutual respect. We are an inclusive school where everyone is valued and has a contribution to make to the school. Children learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and those of others. The importance of working together is stressed in all that we do. Children are encouraged to respect each other throughout the day. Mutual respect and fair play is also discussed within sports based activities. Sissinghurst VA Church of England Primary School regularly wins the Sportsmanship Awards at the matches and tournaments we play out of school.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs – all different faiths and beliefs are explored and celebrated through assemblies, RE sessions and a variety of visits and visitors into school. The children are taught that people have different faiths and beliefs and that we should respect each other. Children within our school are encouraged to share their experiences and traditions. Discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been promoted through PSHCE, Circle Time and Anti-Bullying weeks as well as taking opportunities to tackle this during every day school life. The curriculum includes faith stories and texts from a range of cultures to further raise children’s awareness of different cultures, faiths and beliefs. Through this the children gain an enhanced understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society.