Promoting British Values at St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School 2018-2019 Overview:
In 2013 the Department for Education said “Keeping our children safe and ensuring schools prepare them for life in modern Britain could not be more important. This change is an important step towards ensuring we have a strong legal basis for intervening in those schools where this is an issue.”
“The vast majority of schools already promote British values. This is about making sure we have the tools we need to intervene if children are being let down. Schools are required to actively promote and not undermine “British Values”.
British Values are set out as:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
As a Catholic School we actively promote values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupils character and moral perspective, through the teachings of the Church. We are confident that our continued focus on the Gospel Values will give our pupils the necessary awareness of what it means to be a good citizen in Britain today, and embed in them the building blocks of a future successful and productive life.
Through our RE, PSHE, SEAL, Geography and promoting The Common Good we are able to make real links between the values of our pupils and the lives of others in their community, country and the world in general. Through our creative Curriculum we teach about democracy, civic responsibility (being part of making rules and looking after the world around us), rules and laws, equality, values and virtues, environmental awareness (eco-schools) and understanding of other faiths through visits to places of worship, different learning activities and visitors to school.
As a school, we believe it is vital that we are at the heart of our community. This means serving our community and ensuring our children are active members of their community: the school, the local, national and the global community. We recognise the multi-cultural and multi-faith nature of the wider community in the United Kingdom and the challenges our young people face in modern Britain. Our aim is to ensure our children are prepared for the next stage of life in today’s ever-changing world by living our mission statement – ensuring that St. Gerard's Catholic Primary and Nursery School is an inspiring and aspirational community where all children have the freedom and choice to love, hope, dream and achieve.
Alongside our school assemblies, visits and through our curriculum, some of the ways that St. Gerard’s promotes British Values are:
The ability to communicate is the most important area of learning. At St. Gerard’s Primary and Nursery School we ensure that pupils are given a ‘voice’ to communicate. We empower our pupils by giving them opportunities to make choices about the things that they believe to be important. By valuing each ‘voice’ and by listening and responding to that voice we demonstrate that we support democracy and liberty.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. The children in year 6 wrote their speeches and an election took place for the head boy, head girl and members of the school council. The children also went through an election process for the eco representatives, road safety officers and house captains. Our school council meets regularly to discuss issues raised in school across all year groups. The council is able to genuinely effect change within the school. Council members for each year group have been voted in by their class.
The children are also interviewed by subject leaders to voice their opinions on the learning and teaching and have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school. The chair of the school council, alongside the head boy and head girl conduct learning walks alongside the SLT each term. Their opinions and ideas will help shape their future at St Gerard’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School.
The rule of law:
Each class began their school year setting out and agreeing their class charters which are displayed in the classrooms all year. The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days. This includes dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Each child is 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. Children are helped to learn to manage their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions.
Staff are committed to providing a consistent environment within the school and beyond. We can help some pupils to understand the connection between actions and consequences. This type of environment enables pupils to feel safe and secure; which in turn, promotes the optimum conditions for learning to take place. The children learn the consequences of their actions both inside and outside the school environment. This includes following the laws from E Safety to road safety with “Bikeability”. All children are taught how to safely cross a road, as well as following the rules in a swimming pool to ensure they are safe in the vicinity of water. (All year groups from year 1 to year 6 are provided with swimming lessons). Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message and the messages surrounding equality and anti-bullying.
In essence we ensure school rules and expectations are clear and fair, help children to distinguish right from wrong, help them respect the law and the basis on which it is made and help the children to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals.
Within school, the children are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school 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 advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. It is important that they understand that freedom does not mean doing whatever they want, but that they consider the consequences and are free to make the right choice. Whether it be through choice of how they record, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. Learning to do things independently is an important part of learning to understand for yourself. At St. Gerard’s Primary School we believe that by engendering a caring, positive and supportive environment and by teaching pupils to be independent this can boost and nurture a healthy self-esteem. Moreover it will build resilience which is vital to be a successful adult. Children who have English as an additional language have specialist support to ensure that this is not a barrier. We actively encourage all children to partake and feel valued; regardless of being “right or wrong”. We believe it is more important for their future if they learn to show perseverance, challenge and thinking skills rather than simply “giving the correct answer”.
We encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour, as well as knowing their rights whilst modelling freedom of speech through pupil participation, while ensuring protection of vulnerable pupils and promoting critical analysis of evidence. We ask the children to challenge stereotypes and explored this in detail through our work during Roald Dahl week. St. Gerard’s implements a strong anti-bullying culture through “Copstars”, “Crucial Crew”, Anti-Bullying Week. “Kidsafe”, Coram Education and E Safety sessions.
Each year group has worked with Gill Taylor, an experienced artist, to portray the Unicef rights through various mediums and explore their rights and those of all children worldwide. They have also worked alongside Gill to explore and depict their own ideas of what it means to be British and how to be a responsible and valued British citizen.
Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs:
Tolerance, manners and respect for all is embedded within the culture of our school. Throughout all learning, modelled behaviour and activities, St. Gerard’s promotes mutual respect for individual differences. We help children to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, their own and other cultures and ways of life. Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. We are an inclusive school where everyone is valued, cared for and has a contribution to make to the school and the wider community. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. So the children and staff often work with other schools in our parish and the wider community which develops their respect for others. Although the Catholic ethos is integral and truly embedded in all our school life, we also explore different faiths through assemblies, RE sessions and a variety of visitors into school. The children are taught that people have different faiths and beliefs and that these should be accepted. Children within our school with different faiths are encouraged to share their practices and special celebrations.
The school and children work hard to also support charities and organisations such as: Cafod, The Brain Tumour Organisation, McMillan Nurses, Sisters of Seal Street and the Widnes Foodbank. They sell poppies, form part of the Community Sunday Service and partake in a minutes silence during Remembrance Day; donate products and create promotional materials for the Widnes Food Bank, Cafod, and The Sisters of Seal street at Harvest Festival and hold cake sales and host coffee mornings for McMillan’s. The children and staff have worn bandanas and scarfs for “Wear it Out” to support children with brain tumours. Each class has chosen a fund raising event to raise money during lent – reception made healthy veg soup and sold it at break times and after school. It was such a hit they decided to keep it as a regular event as “Souper Snack Friday” !They also visit the local care home for the elderly to sing and spend time with the residents. The children are guided to become volunteers in their local and global community to independently make the choice to selflessly support others.
These are some examples of the ways in which British Values are supported, alongside a curriculum tailored to include each aspect in a meaning and relevant way. We strive to guide and inspire every child to become proud, caring, respectable adults that can help shape a great and united Britain.
Democracy (Pupil voice)
Have elections for School Council representatives which are undertaken in each class.
Pupil voices are heard by voting within Class Council meetings and the School Council.
Each class drawn up their own Class Charter
The School Council chooses an annual charity.
Encourage children to voice their views in questionnaires/learning walks
EYFS to make choices voting for “reading book, questions on chalkboard”
British Values Display
Child led learning – deciding on areas within topic to explore
Pupil Voice per subject and for all aspects of teaching & learning
The Rules of Law (Understanding why)
Have visits from authorities – Police, Firefighters etc. to reinforce the importance of Laws.
Promote positive behaviour throughout the school –use of behaviour system (Class Dojo)
Learning to cross the road
Water Safety (swimming)
E Safety sessions
British Values Display
Anti-Bullying week and programme.
Provide our children with a safe and supportive environment in which to make choices safely.
Have a fully integrated PSHE Curriculum (Coram Education)
Offer a variety of extra-curricular activities and opportunities
Giving time for reflection
British Values Displays
Journey Together - Art and PSHE program
Mutual Respect & Tolerance of those of different Faiths and Beliefs
Present head teacher awards certificates (Gold Ties)
Participate in collective worship - Assemblies themes
Have visits from Religious leaders, charities
Instil good manners
Model manners, tolerance and respect
Other faiths weeks
Celebrating different occasions through focussed weeks or assemblies
British Values Display