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 The Priory these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is deeply embedded within the school. Students have the opportunity to have their voices heard through many mechanisms but especially the Student Voice and Student Leadership Committee. Important feedback and decisions drive our school Improvement Plan and permeates into everything we do, for example the curriculum, teaching and learning, charities and careers. The election of Form and Year Representatives is based solely on student votes and our school behaviour policy involves rewards as well as consequences. Democracy is also taught through mock elections (General Election) and also key referendums (European Independence). This is a great way to allow students to be part of the key discussions and decisions which shape and mould our nation.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is consistently reinforced throughout the school day. Students 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. Lessons on the rule of law are taught both explicitly in Form time and assemblies but also implicitly in the regular curriculum. Visits from authorities such as a visit from our local MP and the Year 8 trip to Parliament help reinforce this message.
Within school, students 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 students to make choices safely, through a provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our Citizenship programme. This may be through teaching and learning, in their choice of challenge, how they record information or feedback to their peers, or through participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs.
Our students are encouraged to be active citizens prepared for the outside world and are given the freedom to make choices every day and in many different situations and arenas.
Our ethos is linked to our values. We believe that everyone is special and can contribute to the life of our community. Some people describe our ethos as ‘holistic’, where we look at developing and respecting the whole individual in order for them to play a full role in our global environment. We have a strong moral purpose and believe that everyone should not only take responsibility for their own actions but model those behaviours they expect to see in others. This is modelled by staff, student leaders, echoed in our behaviour policy and also in embedding our school ethos of ‘physical, emotional and academic progress for all’.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing student understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies, curriculum opportunities and ‘deep learning days’ facilitate discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. In addition through visits to places of worship and our diversity committee and clubs.