The Department for Education states that there is a 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 were reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2014. At Berkswell these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
We believe that it is important to give children first-hand experience of concepts such as democracy. Children are given opportunities throughout the year to take part in democratic processes such as head boy and girl elections and house captain elections. We have a thriving school council which allows children to have a voice and enables them to see that they can make a difference. The elections of members of the school council are based on pupil votes.
Our Christian Values run through every aspect of school life. In order to keep the other values alive, we award 8 medals and a trophy during weekly worships.
Rule of Law
Children are taught the values and reasons of law, that they govern and protect us. At Berkswell the school council used ideas contributed by each class to compile a school learning charter which we all follow. This learning charter is displayed in each classroom and reinforced regularly throughout the school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school worships. We have visits from authorities such as the police and the fire service and we teach children aspects of both civil and criminal law.
“For me, rule of law means that I can lead a good life and can be safe as other people follow them too.”
“Rule of law means keeping people safe and being able to realise that you have protection.”
Within school, pupils 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 provision of a safe environment and an 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 eSafety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how to present their work or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
“Individual liberty means freedom to make your own choices. You have the freedom to do what you want but there are rules to follow too.”
Our Christian values, including respect, trust, forgiveness and friendship permeate through all aspects of school life and provide a guide as to how we respect, relate and work together. We pay explicit attention to this through our RE and PSHE curriculum. Respect is a school value that is deeply discussed, starting with self-respect and covering respect for family, friends, the wider community and world and also our environment. Our SIAS inspection confirms this is an outstanding aspect of life at Berkswell School.
“At Berkswell School we believe that we should treat other people in the way that we would like to be treated. We treat everyone as individuals and show respect to them, whoever they are.”
Different faiths and beliefs
Berkswell is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Worships are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our R.E. curriculum provides a broad and balanced education on a range of faiths, religions and cultures. Children have the opportunity to visit other places of worships and visitors from other faiths are invited into school to talk about their beliefs and values. This allows our children to experience, appreciate and respect others of a different belief system.