Although in 2014-15 this was something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is something that is well established at Ball Green Primary School. British values are promoted in through everything we do, especially during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural [SMSC] sessions. The values are integral to our ethos and evidence of this can be seen throughout our school.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views. This is in line with our Equality Policy
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. The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Ball Green. 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.
Furthermore, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Our annual, whole-school Where in the World topic ensures that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
- its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
- how ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and ‘the United Kingdom’ (be warned: it’s complicated – this diagram might help!)
- where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Historically: Time Travel is a whole-school topic which happens every two years. The main focus is British history. During the topic, children learn about an aspect life and how this has developed and changed over time. The actual topic depends on the interests of the children (and teacher!), but might include inventions and discoveries, or houses, or medicine.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Ball Green Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in private. 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. Pupils have organised various events and also play an important role in the day to day life of the school. Minutes from the pupils meetings can be seen on the website.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
- children agree their Rights and Responsibilities within the classroom; pupils decide upon personal rights and responsibilities for their class
- children have the opportunity to nominate and vote for other pupils and staff to receive a certificate in our weekly celebration assembly
- using pupil questionnaires, they are invited to give feedback on various subjects as well as whole school areas
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. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
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 behavior choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Rights and Responsibilities, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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
- visits to the places of work of local authorities
- 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
- choices about changes to be made within school
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 SMSC lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Ball Green Primary is in an area which is becoming increasingly culturally diverse and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect is at the heart of our aims and ethos. We have the right to be treated with respect. It is our responsibility to respect others and their views.
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.
Specific examples of how we at Ball Green Primary enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, SMSC and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example
- enjoying a depth of study during Community Themed Weeks, where sometimes we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the word (whilst at other times we might consider groups or individuals who might be vulnerable in some way, such as those with mental health issues)
- through a whole school topic ‘Different families, Same love’ we consider how our families differ from person to person and although they are different we are all loved
Unfortunately, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At Ball Green Primary, such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our Behavior and Equality Policy.