The Department of Education has stated 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, 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’. At St John’s, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
At St John’s, democracy is taken very seriously. Children are actively encouraged to have a voice and share their views and opinions regularly.
St. John’s RC Primary School is a UNICEF Rights Respecting School and has achieved GOLD award status (2022) Each year the children decide upon their own class charter and rules following the line of respecting others whilst recognising their own responsibilities and their role in ensuring that the rules are followed.
Children at St. John’s have many opportunities to have their voice hear. We have 2 whole school councils PE and Sport Council, Rights Respecting Steering Group that take from EYFS-Y6. The Year 6 children all have leadership roles: Head Ambassador, House Captain, Amigo playground buddy), Mini Vinnies, librarians and Learning Leaders. All groups ensure that the voices of all the children across the school are heard by hosting half termly view gathering events. Each team uses the views of all to shape their future work.
We visit our local council chamber to present our ideas or to take part in organised events e.g. ‘Our Child’ launch 2022. Our local MP Jeff Smith is a regular visitor and works with our children to ensure they understand his role as well as listening and responding to their ideas.
The principle of democracy is explored particularly in History as one of our golden threads.
THE RULE OF LAW
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies.
Children 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. Our school rules, rewards and sanctions, which are displayed in all classrooms, are referred to regularly and consistently upheld. The children are well aware of the laws in school and class and work with the teacher to formulate these.
Visits from authorities such as the police and fire service help to reinforce these messages in the real world. We engage with the law-makers of the country and take children to parliament to see the seat of our democracy and to explore the way laws are made.
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 our pupils to make choices safely through provision of an empowering education in a safe environment. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their right and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it is through choice of learning challenge, how they record a certain piece of work or participation in numerous after school or lunchtime clubs, our pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Debate and philosophy are a big feature of our work at St. John’s. Through this focus we develop critical thinking, communication skills, teamwork and empower the voice of each individual.
In line with our commitment to democracy, pupils at St. John’s are always able to voice their opinions and we foster an environment where students are safe to disagree with each other. Our Mission Statement promotes the values of respect and responsibility. The school council also provides the students with an arena where they can bring up and discuss any issues that may undermine the school ethos.
As a Catholic Gold Rights Respecting school, mutual respect is at the heart of what we do. Our 6 values of Love, Joy, Kindness, Resilience, Gratitude and Respect underpin the learning that their behaviours have an effect on their rights and the rights of others. All members of the community are expected to teach each other with respect.
St. John’s underpins all education through respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments as well as extra-curricular activities such as through sport. In line with our commitment to democracy, pupils are always able to voice their opinions as we foster an environment where pupils can debate ideas and are safe to disagree with each other. We encourage pupils to substantiate opinions and to realise the value of co-operation and consensus as well as decision making through voting. Through focus weeks, such as anti-bullying and ‘You-nique’ Day, we aim to highlight all of the things we value as a school that promotes equality and respect for all who serve in our school community.
TOLERANCE OF THOSE WITH DIFFERENT FAITHS AND BELIEFS
Assemblies are regularly planned to enrich children’s understanding of different faiths and beliefs. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforces this. By the time they leave us, all children have learnt about the beliefs and practices of people of the following world faiths; Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. The children visit places of worship and have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of these different faiths.
We believe that students should understand their place in a culturally diverse society and we work hard to create opportunities for our children to experience such diversity within the school community. All students across key stage 1 and 2 learn about different faiths and beliefs through our “Come and See” Religious Education programme. Supporting these sessions and the school curriculum are trips to different places of worship where our students gain valuable experience of other religions/cultures first hand.
Each year, we mark significant dates in the calendar that celebrate different cultures and backgrounds such as Diwali, Chinese New Year and Black History Month.
Each year our Year 5 children are given the opportunity to go Spain as part of our cultural exchange link with Colegio Humberto Juanes, Nigrán. As part of the exchange. The children in Year 6 are also given the opportunity to host two Spanish children during the reciprocal visit to Manchester. This exchange enables our children to have an appreciation of a different country whilst reinforcing the importance of their place within the international community.
Through Multi Faith weeks and special events such as United Nations Day, All pupils experience a connection with other cultures and beliefs. St. John’s promotes collaboration as a rich source of learning, with an emphasis on working with others and learning other languages which directly contributes to the appreciation of others perspectives on life.
Preventing Radicalisation and Extremism
Radicalisation is defined as the act or process of making a person more radical or favouring of extreme or fundamental changes in political, economic or social conditions, institutions or habits of the mind.
Extremism is defined as the holding of extreme political or religious views. We rely on our strong values to steer our work and ensure the pastoral care of our children protects them from exposure to negative influences.
St. John’s is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our children. As a school, we recognise that safeguarding against radicalisation is no different from safeguarding against any other vulnerability. All staff are expected to uphold and promote the fundamental principles of British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
The Role of the Curriculum
Our curriculum promotes respect, tolerance and diversity. Children are encouraged to express themselves through discussions and consultations (pupil's voice). The RE (Religious Education), PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education), Citizenship and SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) provision is embedded across the curriculum and underpins the ethos of our school.