In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role of British values in education. In November 2014, the Department for Education published guidance on the promotion of British values in the school curriculum. At Langley Mill Infant School & Nursery, this is not something new. Promotion of these core, human values has always been a central focus of our work with the children, which permeates everything that we do. The promotion of British values is firmly established in our curricular and extra-curricular programmes as well as being embedded in our ethos and culture.
The principles of democracy are promoted through many school activities. When children are allocated roles and responsibilities within school, delegation is conducted democratically and fairly. The children are involved in age-appropriate decision making processes in school which shows democracy in action, for example deciding on the daily book for story time and the weekly ‘Bucket Filling Bonanza’ treat within each class. Pupil voice is heard through regular class council discussions and annual surveys. Governors conduct surveys of the children’s views on teaching and learning across the curriculum during their school visits. Class teachers and other staff regularly seek the children’s views on a variety of issues. The children’s views influence genuine change within the school such as how they like lunchtimes to be structured and with what resources.
The Rule of Law
The importance of rules, within school, home and wider community, is consistently reinforced in our day-to-day school activities. The children are helped to understand the value of and reasons for the rules which keep us happy and protected, the responsibilities associated with them and the consequences when they are broken. Rules are regularly explored through many of our curricular programmes, especially in Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE), Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Religious Education (RE), any many topics across all curriculum areas reinforce specific rules e.g. health and safety rules in cookery and design and technology sessions etc. Restorative approaches are used to support a positive learning environment where pupils are helped to self-regulate their own behaviour and learning. Many visitors are welcomed to school to discuss their work and how they help maintain good order in the wider community e.g. police officers, fire officers, and railway workers.
From the very start within our 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 the children to enable them to make safe choices, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. The children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and consider how to exercise these safely, for example through our Online Safety work, PSHE Education, RE programmes and RSE lessons. Our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities give the children the freedom to choose participation and challenge. Class council discussions improve the children’s thinking skills as well as abilities such as confidence, teamwork and leadership.
One of our core Langley Mill Foundations is ‘respect’ and the children learn about this during a weekly collective worship session and our daily reward system. Our Attachment Aware Behaviour Regulation Policy, which highlights our expected conduct behaviours, is based on respect for each other in a mutually supportive learning environment. Other policies such as Anti-Bullying and Equality and Diversity all reinforce the principles of mutual respect which are at the heart of our school. We actively tackle all types of bullying and discriminatory language, including online bullying and prejudice based bullying related to special educational need, disability, gender, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, or sexual orientation. Our children are helped throughout each and every day to know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have. The 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. Our day to day procedures, classroom expectations, social interactions and professional relationship are all based on a clear expectation that mutual respect is at the heart of our organisation.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
We enhance the children’s understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and promote tolerance of different beliefs by giving them opportunities to appreciate diversity. Through our Religious Education and Geography curriculums, the children develop an understanding of a variety of cultures and beliefs. Collective Worship sessions on themes such as anti-bullying and religious festivals ensure that the children are encouraged to tolerate and embrace difference. Our Attachment Aware Behaviour Regulation Policy and Anti-Bullying Policy ensure that prejudice related incidents are challenged, resolved, recorded and reported to Governors. We use a range of resources and approaches to learn about different faiths and beliefs. We fully follow the locally agreed syllabus for Religious Education. This outlines the contributions that RE makes to the whole curriculum, including pupils’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC).