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The DfE has asked schools to emphasise the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
At Emmaus School, British values are promoted in much of what we do, not least during our Collective Worship and Religious Education.
The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values. The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.
Being part of Britain
At Emmaus School, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of all our children and families. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the autumn term, and what could be more British than a trip to the seaside at New Brighton! We also value and celebrate national events, such as Remembrance Sunday.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our topics ensure that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
Historically: During our historically based topics, children learn about an aspect of life in history and how this has developed and changed over time. The actual topic depends on the interests of the children, but might include inventions and discoveries, or houses, or medicine.
Other examples are:
In Year 6, pupils undertake an intense topic about World War Two and the impact that the military had in fighting for the British Empire. This is linked with the annual Poppy Day celebrations where children purchase poppies and a minute's silence is held in specially created assemblies for the school.
In Year 2, there is a focus on the work of Florence Nightingale and how she assisted British soldiers in Scutari so they could convalesce after being injured. The children find her work and approach to making changes to hospitals both fascinating and inspiring.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Emmaus Primary. Democracy is central to how we work here.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own voice and is able to genuinely effect change within the school. The Council have been actively involved in recruitment and in providing the headteacher with feedback, for example with school meals.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
Rules and Laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in Collective Worship and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Class Rules, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our children to make choices safely; for example:
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our e-safety sessions.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Emmaus Primary is in an area which is not culturally diverse. However, we are proud to promote and celebrate different backgrounds and beliefs from around our city and the country. Mutual respect is at the heart of our aims and ethos – To foster within the school community a sense of commitment and responsibility respecting others and oneself.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource or a religious belief. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Emmaus Primary enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are: