The Department for Education states that there is a 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 were reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2014. At St Edward’s CE Academy, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Pupils 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 elected school council, Travel Ambassadors, by becoming Anti Bullying ambassadors or Prefects and regular pupil voice surveys. In addition, we organise ‘wider curriculum’ sessions to ensure pupils have the chance to engage with issues and share their views: examples include taking part in a debate and voting on climate change, writing to the local council and MP, taking part in a virtual session with the UK Parliament and debates to help pupils learn how to argue and defend points of view.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout our school day, through our Collective Worship programme and also when dealing with behaviour in school. We encourage our pupils to distinguish right from wrong and help pupils to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals. Our 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. Visits from the Police, Fire Service, etc. also help to reinforce our messages. Our restorative justice approach helps us to resolve conflicts.
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 the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. We support pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Through our work as a Rights Respecting School, our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely: examples of this can be clearly seen in our PSHE lessons, sessions on online safety, our antibullying work, our participation with the Holocaust Educational Trust and our work to achieve the Stonewall Silver Award.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
At the heart of our whole school ethos is a commitment to RESPECT – a set of core attitudes that we believe contribute to individuals being able to live happy and successful lives within the communities to which they belong. Our Values are taught through Collective Worship and PSHE sessions and form a key part of our daily dialogue across the academy. Respect is promoted and is deeply embedded in all that we do at the school. The pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small. The core value of Respect at St Edward’s Academy underpins our work every day both in and out of the classroom. Our school frequently participates in learning activities that promote mutual respect such as visits to local first schools and residential care homes for the elderly. A wide range of extra-curricular clubs is offered at St Edward’s both at lunchtime and after the school day. These clubs provide another opportunity for mutual respect to be secured in the attitudes of our pupils, both amongst those participating from their own setting, and any visiting staff or teams.
Our core value of RESPECT ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs. St Edward’s enhances pupils understanding of different faiths and beliefs through our curriculum where we ensure pupils learn about a wide variety of cultures and beliefs, through our work as an International School, by welcoming visitors from other schools that are not predominately white British and taking part in a faith visit to a place of worship.