The Department for Education (DfE) has 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 Ministers ever since. At Ben Jonson these values are carefully promoted through our curriculum, which includes the ‘hidden curriculum’ and are woven into the ethos of our school. We have a developmental approach that enables children to develop their understanding of these values throughout their time at our school in order that they become responsible citizens.
Throughout their time at Ben Jonson there will be many occasions where children will have the opportunity to vote and for their voices to be heard. We understand that the children's opinions about our school are valid and need to be at the heart of our decision making.
All staff will model this process through asking questions and inviting children's answers and opinions, whether it be in lessons, during assemblies, at lunchtime or on the playground. For example, in child-initiated learning, all children are developing their decision-making skills and learning to make informed choices and take responsibility for them. Older children often take part in debating activities or engage in public speaking on various topics and our School Council members are elected by their peers.
Our Values of brave, kind and curious also promote democracy.
We therefore demonstrate our commitment by:
• Class rules to which the children contribute.
• School Council with all class representation.
• Pupil questionnaires (annual).
• Pupil input into all aspects of their learning.
• We operate an open-door policy which welcomes the expression of concerns/ideas.
• Parents Evenings are held regularly.
• Parental questionnaires (annual).
• Parental representation on governing body.
• Parental workshops and regular website updates to keep parents up to date.
RULE OF LAW
We consistently reinforce our high expectations of children. Children are taught the value and reasons behind our expectations (rules), that they are there to protect us, that everyone has a responsibility and that there are consequences when rules are broken. They recognise that whilst we have rules at school, other rules and laws exist in the country for the same reasons. The rules we abide by in school help to prepare us for the rules that govern society.
Visits from the fire service, road safety experts, the police and visits to the various community buildings help us to reinforce this message.
Within school, children 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 children to make choices safely, through our provision of a safe environment and engaging teaching. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms, whilst recognising that they have various responsibilities to fulfil. We support each child to become as independent as possible so that they are encouraged to become valued citizens. We endeavour to demonstrate that everyone has rights; this includes the right to say ‘No’ when appropriate. Some children will be able to take responsibility for particular roles, such as monitors and school councillors. Learning to do things independently is an important part of learning to understand yourself. We believe that in fostering a careful and helpful environment and encouraging independence we can boost and nurture a healthy self-esteem. Whether it be through their choice of learning challenge, how to record their work, choosing which of our extra-curricular activities to participate in or what to eat at lunchtime, our children are given the freedom to make many choices.
Children learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of our school community treat each other with respect. Events and circumstances are planned for pupils to go into the community to meet with a variety of people in different situations which include: sports events and community events. We support our community in a variety of ways for example: collecting Harvest goods, as well as participating in national charitable events such as Children in Need, Comic Relief and fund raising for local charities. Our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around core values: brave, kind and curious and children model this by caring, sharing and listening to others. Our staff help children to understand how to respect by talking about how actions/words can affect others.
TOLERANCE OF THOSE OF DIFFERENT FAITHS AND BELIEFS
We aim to enhance children’s understanding of different faiths and beliefs through RE lessons and participating in a range of celebrations throughout the year. Through our school values, all children are taught to respect everyone regardless of their faith and beliefs.
In the curriculum through Religious Education, PSHE, English, Art, Geography and History, as well as our Assembly themes, children consider cultures from other parts of the world, different faiths and beliefs. We visit local places of worship and invite visitors from our community to share their knowledge and to enhance learning both within classes and for the whole school.
To celebrate being British we: