The DfE 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.”
At Rayne Primary and Nursery School, we believe these British Values are not just taught in discrete lessons, but rather, are demonstrated in how we speak to the children, what we offer them, the relationships we have with them, and how our curriculum is designed, in short – our tolerant, respectful, child centred environment seeks to model the very values described in the above paragraph.
Democracy is endemic within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Pupil Council and Pupil Perception Questionnaires. The elections of House and School Councillors allow children to democratically elect their representatives.
Each year School Council representatives present reports to the Annual Parish Assembly (and answer questions posed by parishioners), and they attend Braintree District Council events (where they got to vote on ideas to improve the local area).
Children run campaigns and vote on issues of importance in school too. Recently for example, our children democratically decided how to spend a sum of money. They ran their campaigns and voted in a real election, complete with voting booths, ballot boxes and District Councillors as returning officers. The outcome reflected the voice of the people – we are now the proud owners of a “Scrapstore Playpod”. Well done children!
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 regular school days and through school assemblies, as well as when dealing with behaviour. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, (e.g. that they govern and protect us), the responsibilities that this involves, and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service; Lifeguards etc. are regular parts of our curriculum and help reinforce this message. We take our School Councillors on a prestigious, annual trip to the Houses of Parliament and they have also visited the Essex County Council chambers.
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 young pupils to make choices safely, through of provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and they are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, ways in which work may be recorded, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. One example of this is in our homework system – children get to choose what they learn from a grid of over 30 activities. Children are free to develop their learning at home in a style that suits them.
An important part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘Respect’; pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school promote respect for others and this is reinforced through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy. Respect is also modelled in the behaviour and attitudes of all adults in school, and is evident in the relationships that they have with each other, as well as with our children.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupil’s understanding of their place in a culturally diverse country and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Part of our outstanding RE curriculum involves welcoming visitors from other cultures (not represented in our predominantly white Christian school). This has been extremely successful in breaking down stereotypes and affording children the opportunity to meet people they ordinarily would not.