Promoting British Values at St Anthony’s
‘At St Anthony’s School we aim to provide a safe, secure and healthy environment where all children are encouraged to be independent learners and thinkers.’ (School Vision statement)
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 promotion of British values is not something new to our curriculum at St Anthony’s. Such values are at the core of all we do whether it be through our assemblies, our RE curriculum, our personal, social, health and citizenship lessons or through other areas of the curriculum. The term British values can be somewhat misleading as these values are integral to so many countries across the world.
At St Anthony’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is embedded at the school. Children 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. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council and regular questionnaires. The elections of the School Council members are based solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. School council works not only to solve issues that the children raise but also have input into their curriculum and the standards of the school.
In addition, the School Council organises our charity work throughout the year. Our three charities for this year Shelter, Pilgrim’s Hospice and Crossroads School, Uganda. This fostering of a commitment to charities is another way in which we teach a sense of Britishness.
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. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws (rules), that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Positive behaviour management strategies are implemented throughout the school and rules and expectations are reinforced through school assemblies and class circle times.
Within school, pupils 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 all pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our curriculum in areas such as e-safety, anti-bullying, sex and relationship education and drugs awareness education. Whether it is through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. St Anthony’s is located in Margate, which is a culturally diverse area. We celebrate this diversity in our curriculum. Examples include our celebrations of different religious festivals throughout the year, the participation of all our children, in all our curriculum activities and the regular staff training we undertake to ensure this inclusive practice remains outstanding. Children learn that their actions have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect. The whole school community knows and understands that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have.
Tolerance of Different Faiths and Beliefs
St Anthony’s is situated in an area of cultural diversity; therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. For example, in RE children learn about the four main religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. They have opportunities to visit different places of worship. Through this our children gain an enhanced understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society.