Promoting and Teaching British Values at Westmeads
The Department for Education has 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.”
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister this year. At Westmeads these values are carefully addressed using our 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 Westmeads 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 their 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. In child-initiated learning, all children are developing their decision making skills and learning to make informed choices and take responsibility for them.
Our School Council has members elected from each class and have regular meetings to represent the views of their classmates.
Our school behaviour policy is clear that children are expected to contribute and co-operate, taking into account the views of others.
The 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.
Visits from the fire service, road safety experts, the police and visits to the Lifeboat Station 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 young children to make choices safely, through our provision of a safe environment and empowering teaching. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms.
We support each child to become as independent as possible so that they are encouraged to become good and 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, buddies or Eco warriors. 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 many extra-curricular activities to participate in or what to eat at lunchtime, our children are given the freedom to make many choices.
Respect is one of our school values. 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, community events and shared participation with other schools.
We support others by visiting elderly members of the community sing songs; to collect Harvest goods for the Whitstable Food Bank, as well as participating in national charitable events such as Children in Need, Comic Relief and fund raising for local charities such as the Whitstable Lifeboat or the Umbrella Centre.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around core values such as ‘Respect’, and children are modelled this by caring, sharing and listening to others. The 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 by 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 (fiction), Art, geography and history, as well as our Assembly themes, children consider cultures from other parts of the world, different faiths and beliefs. We invite visitors from our community to share their knowledge and to enhance learning both within classes and for the whole school.
Our School Council attended a School Parliament with many other schools in our Coastal Alliance. The title of the day was ‘Tolerance and Respect for Others.’
To celebrate being British we:
Study key historical figures and events in British history
Learn about our Patron Saints and legends
Dance and listen to music from the different regions of Britain
Learn key geographical facts about Britain
Invite our local Morris Dancers into school every May Day
Study our native wildlife
Support national events such as the Olympics and the World Cup