The DfE have 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 Maple Court Academy these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is rife within the Academy. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council, pupil interviews and pupil questionnaires. The elections of Head Boy and Head Girl, Prefects and School Council Representatives are based solely on pupil votes. Our Academy Behaviour Policy involves rewards in Golden Time which the pupils vote on as a class group. Each year, a year group visits the Houses of Parliament in London to learn more about our Members of Parliament and our voting system.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the Academy, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular Academy days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through Academy assemblies. 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 authorities such as the Police; Fire Service; Lifeguards etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Within the Academy, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As an Academy we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, or of participation in our extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Part of our Academy ethos and behaviour policy revolves around the core values of ‘Pride and Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions and weekly assemblies relating to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the Academy promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our golden rules and our behaviour policy.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the Academy. Visits and visitors regularly reinforce this. Throughout the year, assemblies and special days and events take into account major festivals and celebrations from a range of cultures. Each class has a weekly timetabled opportunity to discuss all aspects of SMSC and to explore areas of interest and current affairs.