The government have recently reinforced the need ‘. 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.’
In 2014, the Government reiterated its definition of British values in the Prevent strategy.
At Morpeth First School, children’s awareness of democracy begins in the lower school, where younger children are given the opportunity to cultivate self confidence and self awareness , developing collaboration and decision making skills. As children mature, they are encouraged to work together, take turns and negotiate outcomes in both learning and play situations. Classes choose their own end of term rewards and also have an input into areas of learning. Philosophy for children (P4C) sessions allow children to discuss a question of their choice and come to a democratic answer, which informs teacher’s planning. Many opportunities are given for pupils to vote about curricular learning. Our pupil elected school council have a say in many issues such as themes for charitable fundraising and deciding which charity to donate to, identifying areas for school rewards, choosing playground equipment and evaluating learning opportunities. Pupil questionnaires are completed at the end of each year, and from this, an action plan is devised.
The Rule of Law
Our pupils will encounter rules and laws throughout their lives from learning how to manage their feelings and behaviour to learning right from wrong and dealing with the consequences of their actions. Classes devise their own class rules at the beginning of the year and copies of the ‘Goosehill Golden Rules’ can be found around the school. The school operates the ‘Good to be Green’ behaviour system which rewards positive behaviour and children are aware of the consequences of not following these, as noted in the behaviour policy. Throughout the year we welcome visits from the local community police officers and fire brigade to further support this aspect of the curriculum.
We invest a great deal of time in creating a positive culture in our school so that children feel that they are in a safe environment where choices and freedoms are encouraged. Through our PHSE curriculum, children are encouraged to build a positive sense of themselves. Through activities such as ‘Safety Week’ and ‘Anti-Bullying Week’, children are empowered to make informed, safe, moral choices and activities such as the celebration of Armistice day the importance of liberty is reiterated.
Mutual respect and Tolerance of those with different Faiths and Beliefs
Children are encouraged to treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves. They learn how to be part of a community, manage their feelings and form relationships. The school has an ethos of inclusivity where different views, faiths and cultures are valued. We strongly believe that tolerance relies on understanding and we regularly have interfaith and cultural weeks where we give children the opportunity to explore the main ideas behind different religions and cultures as well as visit places of cultural and religious interest in the locality. We are part of the E-Twinning community which gives the children chance to communicate and share learning with schools across Europe. Our anti-Bullying week ensures that children are equipped to recognise their role in challenging bullying and antisocial behaviours. We regularly invite charities like Show Racism the Red Card into school. The school choir visits local residential homes, giving the children the opportunity to cultivate intergenerational awareness representatives of the school take part in activities.