In June 2014 David Cameron spoke about the important role of British values in our education system. How well schools promote such values are now part of the Ofsted inspection process.
The promotion of British values is not something new to our curriculum at Highfield. Such values are at the core of all we do whether it be through our assemblies, our RE curriculum, our personal, social, health and citizenship lessons or through other areas of the curriculum. The term British values can be somewhat misleading as these values are integral to so many countries across the world.
Below are some examples of how British values are promoted in our school curriculum.
Our curriculum reflects, celebrates and teaches children about diversity. For example, in RE children learn about the four main religions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. They compare and contrast marriage customs and naming ceremony customs, for example, and have opportunities to visit different places of worship.
Throughout the year we celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms this means we celebrate events such as Christmas, Harvest, Mothering Sunday, Remembrance Day. We have a trip to the theatre at Christmas and a Christmas pantomime in school. In additon, we always take part in key British events such as the Olympics in 2012, the Diamond Jubilee in 2013 and The Grand Depart in 2014. For such events we hold parades, tea parties, concerts and do additional curriculum classroom work about how such events relate to being British.
In Geography children learn about the traditional seaside town of Scarborough, the historical fishing village of Robin Hood's Bay and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. They also learn about Britain's place in Europe as well as other aspects of its rich heritage.
In History children learn about British key figures such as Guy Fawkes, George Stevenson, William the Conqueror, Queen Elizabeth 1, Henry V111, Queen Victoria, Dr Barnardo, Sir Winston Churchill and Mary Seacole. One of our themes in History is a study of childhood in different historical periods and how key historical events have impacted on British lives today (The Factories and Edication Acts in our Victorian topic, The Battle of Britain in our WW2 topic, The Reformation in The Tudors for example).
The annual election and work of our school council reflects British democracy. Our school council is very proactive in having its voice heard. Recent school council activities have included an environmental project around endangered animals, improving play facilities on the school playground and a review of school dinners.
In addition, the school council organises our charity work throughout the year. This includes fun days such as dressing in pyjamas for Children In Need as well as our longstanding work to support Barnados. This fostering of a commitment to charities is another way in which we teach a sense of Britishness.
The school works actively with the education team at parliament. We enter the Speakers Awards each year and in 2014 we were chosen to design a flag for parliament to celebrate the 800 year anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Our local MP Fabian Hamilton visits the school regularly, speaking to the school council, attending assemblies. He has also organised visits to pariament for some of our older students.
Rules and Laws
Children are taught the importance of rules and laws and how the ones in school reflect those in our country. Children are taught the reasons behind rules and that they are there to keep us safe and happy. Each class has its own code of conduct and positive behaviour reinforcements are operated throughout the school. Visits form authority figures in society such as the fire brigade, the local community police officers, doctors, dentists, nurses, MPs and governors demonstrate to children how rules and laws are an integral part of a safe and happy Britain.
Alongside rules and laws we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express our views and beliefs as an integral part of what it is to be British. Children may choose to take part in our very wide range of extra curricular activities. They have a very broad choice of lunchtime play areas and activities. They are involved in their own learning and respond to their learning by feedback systems and self review of marking. They are taught how to use their choices and freedoms safely though our curriculum in areas such as e-safety, anti-bullying, sex and relationship education and drugs awareness education.
Mutual respect and tolerance
Highfield is a wonderfully culturally diverse school with a highly regarded inclusive ethos and practice. We are a microcosm of British society and we celebrate this. Our children are taught and know how to show respect to everyone no matter what our differences may be. We celebrate this diversity in our curriculum. Examples include our celebrations of different religious festivals throughout the year, the participation of all our children, including those with disability, in all our curriculum activities and the regular staff training we undertake to ensure this inclusive practice remains outstanding.
Behaviours which are contrary to these British values are actively challenged, whether they come from children, parents or staff. Such instances are extremely rare in school and we are proud of the reputation we have in our local community.
Preventing radicalisation and extremism
The Prevent strategy
Information for parents and carers
What is the Prevent strategy?
Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes. The Prevent strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. How does the Prevent strategy apply to schools? From July 2015 all schools (as well as other organisations) have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism. This means we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views in the same way we protect them from drugs or gang violence. Importantly, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.
What does this mean in practice?
Many of the things we already do in school to help children become positive, happy members of society also contribute to the Prevent strategy.
• Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity
• Challenging prejudices and racist comments
• Developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity
• Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, as well as British values such as democracy
We will also protect children from the risk of radicalisation, for example by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist and terrorist material, or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils (safeguarding procedures). Different schools will carry out the Prevent duty in different ways, depending on the age of the children and the needs of the community.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Prevent relate to British values? Schools have been required to promote British values since 2014, and this will continue to be part of our response to the Prevent strategy.
British values include:
• The rule of law
• Individual liberty and mutual respect
• Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
• Mutual Respect
Isn’t my child too young to learn about extremism? The Prevent strategy is not just about discussing extremism itself, which may not be appropriate for younger children. It is also about teaching children values such as tolerance and mutual respect. We will make sure any discussions are suitable for the age and maturity of the children involved.
Is extremism really a risk in our area? Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. We will give children the skills to protect them from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.
Extremism – vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Ideology – a set of beliefs
Terrorism – a violent action against people or property, designed to create fear and advance a political, religious or ideological cause
Radicalisation – the process by which a person comes to support extremism and terrorism
Where to go for more information
Please contact school if you have any questions or concerns about the Prevent strategy and what it means for your child. You will find more details about radicalisation in our safeguarding policy, available on our website. We also have information about spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and British values on our website.
External sources The following sources may also be useful for further information: Prevent duty guidance: for England and Wales, HM Government https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploa ds/attachment_data/file/417943/Prevent_Duty_Guida nce_England_Wales.pdf
Frequently asked questions: Prevent For Schools http://www.preventforschools.org/?category_id=38 What is Prevent? Let’s Talk About It http://www.ltai.info/what-is-prevent/