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 Prevent Strategy, and these values must be promoted in schools, which are expected to have "due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism" and protect children from radicalisation. At Fairholme, the values are reinforced regularly through our school curriculum and the way in which we nurture children’s wellbeing and their sense of right and wrong.
The term ‘British values’ may be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries, for example. As well as promoting British values, we also actively challenge pupils, staff, parents and visitors who express opinions contrary to British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Schools promote British values through SMSC (social, moral, spiritual and cultural aspects of learning). More information and guidance for schools can be found here.
Democracy is a fundamental part of the school ethos and curriculum. 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. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council and regular questionnaires. Teachers regularly provide learning opportunities in which children are asked to present their views or discuss ideas, about which different opinions may arise. Children are taught about the demoratic election process, and have opportunities to take part in whole school or class elections (for example, electing school councillors, Head Boy and Head Girl, and so on). Through debates, children learn how to argue and defend points of view, whilst remaining respectful to others.
Rule of law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced. Our school has a code of conduct and values, which are deeply embedded in our school ethos and daily learning. Each class also discusses and sets its own rules that are clearly understood and followed by all. Our pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws and rules - that they should be clear and fair, they set clear boundaries and expectations, they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that are involved and the consequences when laws and rules are broken. We teach children the difference between right and wrong.
Within school, children are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised on how to exercise these safely, appropriately and respectfully. Whether it is through choice of challenge in lessons, choice about how to record learning, or participation in our numerous extra- curricular activities, our pupils are given the freedom to make choices. We support our children to develop their self-belief, to be honest, and to take responsibility for their behaviour choices. We challenge sterotypes and have a strong anti-bullying culture.
Mutual respect and tolerance of all
Children attending Fairholme come from a very diverse range of backgrounds and we are proud to promote and celebrate the different backgrounds and beliefs represented within our school and beyond. Respect is at the heart of our school ethos, values and code of conduct. 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. Our curriculum helps our children understand different faiths and beliefs through religious education, assemblies, PSHE and SMSC. We always challenge prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour or views, and actively promote respect for, and appreciation of, difference.