TEACHING AND PROMOTING 'BRITISH VALUES' AT ALEXANDRA PARK
When we developed our school values: Care, Aspire and Achieve, our parents, governors, staff and most importantly children were asked what qualities and values are important for the children to be successful in their future lives and also for them to be valuable members of our society. When looking at British Values, it is clear how the two align and compliment each other.
The Department for Education (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, and these values have been reiterated by Ministers ever since. At Alexandra Park, these values are carefully promoted through our ‘Values Based Curriculum’, and are woven into the ethos of our school.
We have a developmental approach that enables children to develop their understanding of these values throughout their time at our school in order that they become responsible citizens.
Throughout their time at Alexandra Park there will be many occasions where children will have the opportunity to vote and for their voices to be heard. Through our Class Forums they regularly get the opportunity to vote on decisions which impact on their learning and wellbeing, such as the books they listen to and games they play. During these forums they also get an opportunity to feedback on how they learn best and to shape future lesson content and where appropriate how they are delivered. We understand that the children's opinions about their school are valid and need to be at the heart of our decision making. Over the year every child has the opportunity to sit down with the headteacher over drinks and biscuits and feedback on what is important to them and how they feel our school can improve.
All staff will model this process through asking questions and inviting children's answers and opinions, whether it be in lessons, during assemblies, at lunchtime or on the playground. For example, younger children, in child-initiated learning, are developing their decision making skills and learning to make informed choices and take responsibility for them. Older children often take part in debating activities or engage in public speaking on various topics.
Our School Wellbeing Leads has members elected from each class and have regular meetings to represent the views of their classmates.
Our school behaviour policy is clear that children are expected to contribute and co-operate, taking into account the views of others. Our Values also promote democracy.
THE RULE OF LAW
We consistently reinforce our high expectations of children. Children are taught the value and reasons behind our expectations (rules) that they are there to protect us, that everyone has a responsibility and that there are consequences when rules are broken. They recognise that whilst we have rules at school, other rules and laws exist in the country for the same reasons.
● We have very simple behaviour policy which is embedded in all actions and decisions made. Children know that at all times they are expected to be: Ready, Respectful and Safe. These are explicitly communicated during assemblies, followed up in Class forums and lived through every aspect of our school
● By signing the Home School Agreement all parents/carers, children and teachers show commitment to uphold the school rules.
● Children are helped to learn to manage their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions. We help children to understand the connection between actions and consequences; rights and responsibilities.
Visits from the fire service, road safety experts, the police and visits to the various community buildings help us to reinforce this message.
Within school, 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 our children to make choices safely, through our provision of a safe environment and engaging teaching. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms, whilst recognising that they have various responsibilities to fulfil.
We support each child to become as independent as possible so that they are encouraged to become good and valued citizens. We endeavour to demonstrate that everyone has rights; this includes the right to say ‘No’ when appropriate.
Some children will be able to take responsibility for particular roles, such as monitors, buddies (Year 6 and year 3) or eco warriors. Learning to do things independently is an important part of learning to understand yourself. We believe that in fostering a careful and helpful environment and encouraging independence we can boost and nurture a healthy self-esteem.
Whether it be through their choice of how they extend their learning through Aspire Challenges, how to record their work or choosing which of our many extra-curricular activities to participate in, our children are given the support and freedom to make many choices.
Respect is one of our school behaviour pillars. Children learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of our school community treat each other with respect. Importantly, we emphasise that every child has the right to the best education possible and to feel safe at all times and all children must respect these rights.
Events and circumstances are planned for pupils to go into the community to meet with a variety of people in different situations which include: sports events, community events such as visiting nursing home and shared participation with other schools. It was important that there was a variety of experiences for our children to work collaboratively and learn with children from other schools so we take part in a the Ethnic Diversity Services linking project where our Year 4 classes are paired with another school with a different demographic to ours and the children participate in school trips together and visit each others schools.
We support our community in a variety of ways for example: singing songs and carols to others; collecting shoe boxes for refugees, as well as participating in national charitable events such as Children in Need, Comic Relief and fundraising for local charities.
Above all else our school is driven by our value of Care. Respect for ourselves and others is a crucial part of this. Children and adults model this by caring, sharing and listening to others and are role models for each other. Our staff help children to understand how to respect by talking about how actions/words can affect others.
We aim to enhance children’s understanding of different faiths and beliefs by participating in a range of celebrations throughout the year, such as Black History Month and Chinese New Year. Through our school values, all children are taught to respect everyone regardless of their faith and beliefs.
In the curriculum, through Beliefs and Values, PSHE, English, Art, Geography and History, as well as our assembly and class forum themes, children consider cultures from other parts of the world, different faiths and beliefs. We invite visitors from our community to share their knowledge and to enhance learning both within classes and for the whole school or we visit local places of worship.
To celebrate being British we:
● Study key historical figures and events in British history
● Learn about our Patron Saints and various myths and legends from Britain
● Dance and listen to music from the different regions of Britain and Britain’s history
● Learn key geographical facts about Britain
● Study our native wildlife both within our grounds and beyond
● Support national events such as the Olympics and the World Cup