British Values at St Benedict’s C of E VA Junior School
“Tolerance is the foundation of all civilization.” Shiva, Year 4
The DfE recently stipulated 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 of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
At St Benedict’s, we take this responsibility very seriously and believe it is an inherent part of our duty to prepare our pupils for life in modern Britain. As such, these beliefs are encompassed within our school values, which include togetherness, resilience and friendship. The emphasis on British values is evident throughout our curriculum but particularly in Religious Education and PSHE/Citizenship, in which children can develop their understanding. We make sure our pupils are exposed to a wide range of experiences beyond their own community; not just through school visits, but through the link to our partner school in Zambia. This link enables children to embrace difference and celebrate commonality between peoples whilst developing a sense of belonging to a nation.
“Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Abraham Lincoln, former US President
“If you haven’t got democracy, you have someone deciding for you and we should be able to make our own decisions.” James, Year 6
At St Benedict’s C of E VA Junior School, we listen to the views of our young people through a variety of means, including:
- Pupil surveys,
- Circle time,
- Opportunities to vote on issues as a class, year group or whole school,
- A thriving School Council elected by children,
- House Captains to represent each of the four school houses,
- Peer Supporters to listen to and help other pupils during break-times,
- A strong emphasis on teamwork and debating where children are encouraged to express their views clearly and listen to the views of others respectfully,
- Children take the initiative in events such as fund-raising and charitable appeals (Pupils in Year 5 and 6 raise money for their residential trips).
Year 6 also look at democracy up close and personal during their residential trip to London, when they visit the Houses of Parliament. In the build-up to this they study the history of democracy in Britain, including the Suffragette movement and the parliamentary process.
The Rule of Law
“Two things from the bedrock of any open society – freedom of expression and rule of law. If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a free country.” Salman Rushdie, (Author)
In connection with the diocese, St. Benedict’s has developed ‘School Values’ which promote the well-being of the individual and the school as a whole. Each class reinforces these rules and they are a central part of the school ethos. They include being kind, helpful, fair and polite to everyone in our school.
The school has a positive behaviour policy that sets out rewards and sanctions. We encourage children to recognise rights and how these go hand in hand with responsibility.
In addition to this, pupils are taught the values and reasons behind laws; that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as Police officers and PCSOs help to reinforce this message.
“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world.” Malala Yousafzai
We support children to make informed choices in a secure setting. Children develop self-respect and value themselves as individuals. Our school ethos and methods of teaching develop children’s independence as well as other qualities such as perseverance and resilience. Our adoption of the ELLI animal ‘Learning to Learn’ programme has helped to develop pupils’ awareness of their own responsibilities and to value themselves and their potential. Throughout our curriculum, including online safety, we educate children on their rights and personal freedoms, as well as supporting them in recognising how to exercise these freedoms safely and responsibly.
Children are encouraged to achieve highly and work hard. Through determination and self-belief we foster ambition. Visits from authors, scientists, politicians, bishops and athletes encourage children to follow their dreams and embark on the journey to realising their career and life goals.
“We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters, or we will perish together as fools.” Martin Luther King Jr
Respect is a core value of our school and underpins our ethos. Respect is shown by all adults and children towards each other and towards our community. Our broad curriculum supports this and helps children to articulate what respect means in practice. Children can talk about their own faith and beliefs as well as the faiths and beliefs of others. Our school foyer displays St Benedict, patron saint of hospitality, and tells the story of his life and beliefs, and our aim is that our school community shows warmth and respect to those who enter our doors, and that our pupils then take this respect for others into their life beyond St. Benedict’s.
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
“The highest result of education is tolerance.” Helen Keller
“We should not let differences separate us.” Milly, Year 6
As a Voluntary Aided Church of England school, Christian values underpin our ethos and we reinforce British Values through our collective worship which is largely Christian but teaches respect for other religions and important spiritual figures. We have close links with St Benedict’s Church and the children experience British Christian church services throughout the year, with collective worship taking place in church every week.
Through Religious Education and PSHE/Citizenship, in particular, we deepen children’s understanding of faith and belief. We participate in a wide range of celebrations such as Chinese New Year, Diwali, Eid and Christmas, as well as many others. We welcome visitors from our community and those beyond. We have an emphasis on British culture and celebrate St. George’s Day (on which children attend school in out-of-school organisation uniforms, e.g. Cubs and Brownies), and the Queen’s birthday, as well as special events such as jubilees, Remembrance Day and the Olympics.
At St Benedict’s C of E VA Junior School, we view these fundamental British values as universal moral beliefs that are commonly held across the world. We teach these through a distinct curriculum that recognises the unique culture of Britain whilst developing in our pupils a pride in being part of the British nation.
“(At St Benedict’s C of E VA Junior School) faiths other than Christianity are respected and the diverse community is celebrated. The school has considered carefully what it means to be a church school in a diverse community and works sensitively with families from all faith backgrounds and none. The Christian belief that all are equal in the sight of God underpins this approach and children speak eloquently and with commitment of this being a school where all are welcome. They are able to express their thoughts around spirituality clearly and confidently.”
SIAMs inspection November 2016