At Alexandra Park Primary School we understand clearly our responsibility in preparing children for their next stage of education and for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life, laying the foundations so that they can take their place successfully in modern British society. We promote a respect for and understanding of different faiths, cultures and lifestyles. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of each child is central to everything that we do as a school and central to our vision of “Care, Aspire, Achieve”. This is evidenced through our teaching and learning, our inclusive environment and through the many opportunities provided for our children to understand democracy, law, liberty, mutual respect and tolerance.
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 values were reiterated by the Prime Minister David Cameron in June 2014.
How well a school promotes such values is also an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process. Schools must (September 2014): “ensure that they and the school promote tolerance of and respect for people of all faiths (or those of no faith), cultures and lifestyles; and support and help, through their words, actions and influence within the school and more widely in the community, to prepare children and young people positively for life in modern Britain.”
- The Rule of Law
- Individual Liberty
- Mutual Respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Personal, Health and Social Education sessions. The values are integral to our aims and vision where every child within the school is seen as an individual with something unique and positive to offer. Our aim is to guide each child to fulfil their potential in a structured, caring and stimulating environment.
At Alexandra Park Primary School, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of our whole community. We also value and celebrate being part of Britain. This means that we celebrate traditions such as Christmas and Easter and a traditionally British trip to the pantomime at Christmas. We also value and celebrate national events including celebrating the Royal wedding in 2011, the London Olympics in 2012 and the centenary of our school in 2012.
Children learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives including through history and geography.
Through geography children develop a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about capital cities, counties, rivers and mountains and how Great Britain differs from England and the United Kingdom and where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world.
Children find time travelling through history thoroughly enjoyable and a main focus is often British history. Through studying history, children learn about aspects of life during a period of time and how this has developed and changed through the ages. History topics may include inventions, discoveries, homes and medicines.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
The following are all actions that our school take to promote British values:
At Alexandra Park Primary School there are many opportunities for children, parents and staff to have their ‘voice’ heard. Democracy is central to how we operate. All stakeholders in school have recently worked with Rebecca Bell, an external adviser, to share their views on all aspects of school life, with a particular focus on the attributes and attitudes that we want our children to develop and our shared vision and mission statements for the school.
We have an active School Council and an Eco Team. The children who want to represent their class are selected by their peers through a process of written applications, making speeches and giving presentations to their peers. The children consider the qualities which are important for an elected representative and describe why they have them.
The children on the School Council have real decisions to make. These have included choosing the type of playground equipment, reading and ICT resources and the charities that the school supports each year. Our school councillors act as ambassadors in school and often show visitors around the school. Our eco team are active in caring for the school environment. Members of our ecoteam promote recycling and reducing energy use in school and meet up with other ecoteams from neighbouring schools.
Children are encouraged to develop the confidence to share their views through circle times, debating various topics and staff highlighting democracy in history lessons.
Rules and laws
The importance of rules and laws, including those that govern our school or country, are referred to and reinforced regularly through assemblies and when reflecting on appropriate behaviour choices.
At the start of each school year, each class reviews the Alexandra Park Code. This set of principles about school life articulates what is expected of and from the children. The code is 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.
The Alex Park Code
We always do our best to:
- treat everyone and everything with respect
- be safe and sensible
- be responsible for our own actions
- Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws. They understand that laws govern and protect us and understand the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when they are broken. These values are reinforced in different ways including visits from the police and fire service, during Religious Education when rules for different faiths are thought about and during other subjects where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a PE lesson or in ICT where children are given specific guidance to ensure their esafety. Ground rules for discussions during PSHE and Relationships and Sex Education lessons (RSE) are also agreed.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. 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 children to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education where we want each of our children to aspire and achieve their potential. Children 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, PSHE and RSE Whether it is through choice of learning challenge, opportunity for independent learning at home or school or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, children are given the freedom to make choices. Making the right choice in different situations is seen as an important part of giving the children the skills necessary to make the right decisions when faced with difficult and risky situations.
Mutual respect and tolerance
Mutual respect is at the heart of our aims and values. We place a great deal of emphasis on creating an inclusive school ethos where all the different experiences of children and their families are valued and that children and their families feel cared for. Our staff use Restorative Approaches as our way of supporting children to develop mutually respectful relationships with everyone in school and as a means to enhance empathy for others, along with responsibility and accountability for their own actions.
Our pupils get on together well, care for one another and learn to respect differences. Older children support their younger peers through their roles as reading buddies or playground pals. Celebrations across many themes have helped children gain insights into each other’s backgrounds and to recognise the positive aspects of different cultures. Our children know why it is important that they all make a positive contribution to their own class, the school and the community as a whole. Children are proud of the school, they know that they as individuals are valued and respected.
Our children know, and understand, that it is expected, and imperative, that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to respect everything ranging from school equipment to religious beliefs to family background. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. Courtesy and good manners are expected and are the norm.
Specific examples of how we enhance understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs include:
- in RE and PSHE and other lessons develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures both in the present day and in the past. We follow a scheme of work for both RE and PHSE
- in carefully chosen learning themes that consider cultures from other parts of the world
- school to school networking with local primary schools
- assemblies are planned to reflect the diverse nature of our community and country through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures
- members of different faith groups are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school
The Governing Body at Alexandra Park Primary School fully endorses what, and how, the school is promoting British values but also recognise that, sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to these values. However, such instances are rare and we actively challenge pupils, staff, governors or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views, in line with our Behaviour Policy, Anti-bullying Policy and Equality and Diversity Policy.