The DfE 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.
At Christopher Reeves Lower School we take our responsibility to prepare children for life in modern Britain very seriously. We ensure that these fundamental British Values are fully embedded within our curriculum. Children are introduced to and given opportunities to discuss and live out these values through the life of the school. In addition curriculum areas in particular RE, PSHE and Citizenship lessons, provide excellent opportunities to deepen and develop understanding. Children embrace these concepts with enthusiasm and demonstrate application of these values to their own lives. Below are some examples of how specific British Values are embedded within our curriculum:
Democracy - At the beginning of the school year all children vote on who should represent their year group within the School Council. The School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class, on the playground and from the wider community, including the pupils’ social justice concerns.
The Rule of Law- The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are reinforced throughout the school day. Pupils are taught the reason behind the laws that govern and protect us, and the responsibility that this involves as well as understanding the consequences when laws are broken. At the very start of the school year all children are also involved in agreeing their own set of class rules.
Individual Liberty - All pupils are actively encouraged to become good and valued citizens. We support every child to develop independence from their earliest days in school. We also teach children that everyone has rights and responsibilities and we encourage pupils to take responsibility for particular roles, both within and outside school.
An understanding of civil liberty (freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom of association and freedom of religious worship) is developed through pupil voice in all aspects of school life.
Mutual Respect- Mutual respect is at the heart of all our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and the rights of others. All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect. Through our distinctively Christian Values programme we believe that pupils are given the support they need to help them become good citizens. Children are taught to respect everyone regardless of differences, and staff act as role models in their dealings with both adults and children.
We believe it is important to facilitate opportunities for Christopher Reeves to be part of the wider community; this is particularly important given our size and location.Throughout the school, children take part in events alongside children from other schools in a range of contexts e.g. sports,musical and arts events. Every two years we also take our Year 3 and 4 class on a residential trip to The Frontier Centre in Irthlingborough. The centre is a Christian Outdoor Education Centre, with access to specially trained staff. Children enjoy challenging themselves and working together in a safe and supervised environment away from home and school.
As a school, we take part in local sporting activities which helps to instil ‘fair play’ and engender a ’team spirit’. We have an annual sports day and children are organised into vertically grouped ‘House’ teams with the older children taking responsibility as team captains.
We support others by participating in charitable events both locally and within the wider world community such as, Red Nose Day/Comic Relief, Children in Need and many others throughout the school year. We believe that by engendering a caring and helpful environment and by learning to be independent, we can boost and nurture a healthy self-esteem.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs - We are serving a school community where each person is respected and valued equally without regard to their ability, gender, faith, heritage or race. Cultural appreciation and development forms part of our curriculum and we place great emphasis on providing encounters and participation in events and celebrations to broaden all pupils’ experiences and awareness of others. We celebrate and embrace other faiths and world events throughout the school year.
Our daily act of Collective Worship helps all pupils to find out about themselves and others, linking their lives to the communities in which they belong. Pupils explore through worship and in class how our values apply to their own lives, friendships and communities.
Pupils are given opportunities to experience British culture through our curriculum themes at first hand wherever possible. For example, pupils enjoy parcatical activities such as cooking and handling artefacts, and have have visited: the Mosque, Gurdwara and Church as part of the Bedford Faith Tour, and we regularly use the local Church of St Mary’s Podington for study and worship throughout the year.
British Traditions and Heritage - We celebrate the role of Britain both historically and in the present. We want pupils to know about, and be proud of their British heritage including an awareness of our distictively cultural and historical traditions. The school year is punctuated by a series of traditional events and celebrations, and includes May Pole Dancing, Royal events, Festivals such as Harvest, Christmas, and Easter as well as those celebrated by people of other faiths and cultures living in Britain, e.g. , Eid, Diwali, Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year. There are strong links to the 92nd Bombardment Group which was stationed at Podington during World War 2, and there is a specially commissioned stained glass window in the foyer. This and other local landmarks help pupils learn about the village’s history in the Second World War. Each year local residents are invited to attend our Remembrance Service in the Church, which is led by the older pupils.
The children visit places of cultural significance locally such as St Mary the Virgin Church in Podington, Holdenby House, Duxford War Museum, Piddington Roman Villa, Rockingham Castle, and whole school trips are planned from time to time, including a trip to London during the Olympic Year of 2012.