In June 2014, former Prime Minister, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) sessions.
The term ‘British values’ might 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. Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Heronshaw. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the Autumn term, and what could be more British than a trip to a pantomime around Christmas time! We also value and celebrate national events.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Heronshaw. Democracy is central to how we operate. An obvious example is our School Council. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school; in the past, the School Council has sold ice lollies to raise money for wet play equipment and brought and named school pets.
Rules and laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. Pupils 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.
These values are reinforced in different ways:
- Visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
- During Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
- During other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- Choices about what learning challenge or activity
- Choices about how they record their learning
- Choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our e-safety and SEAL lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
At Heronshaw we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. 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. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.