What are ‘British Values’?

Schools are required to provide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of their pupils. As part of this requirement, schools are expected to actively promote fundamental British values. 

The government defines these as:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs

What does this mean for my child?

Schools’ programmes for learning about fundamental British values are designed to prepare children and young people for life in modern Britain.

  • This includes helping pupils understand:
  • The importance of combatting discrimination
  • How we can influence decision-making by taking part in democratic processes like voting and petitioning
  • Our freedom under British law to choose different faiths and beliefs
  • That the law is there to keep us safe

What does this look like in our school? 

British Values are embedded across our school curriculum: for example, many of the texts we study in English cover themes such as tolerance, mutual respect and democracy. The children also study poetry, stories and languages from other cultures. Our Religious Education lessons reinforce the messages of tolerance and respect for others whilst as part of our History and Geography curricula, the children learn about events in UK and World History and how different cultures live and work around the world.

Democracy

  • Pupils have a voice within the school through the School Council;
  • Annual election of School Councillors is based upon a democratic election process conducted in class;
  • Pupils complete an annual survey to identify their perceptions of the school, strengths and areas for development. 

The Rule of Law

  • School rules are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days and displayed across the school, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies;
  • Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken;
  • Consistent application of the principles of Restorative Justice through our school Behaviour for Learning Policy;
  • Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service, etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.

Individual Liberty

  • 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 safety, through of provision of a safe environment and 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 e-Safety and PSHE lessons;
  • Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, e.g. through choice of challenge, choice of reading books and of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities.

Mutual Respect (and tolerance) of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs

  • The school ethos and behaviour policy revolves around Core Values such as ‘Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown.
  • The importance of respect is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our Behaviour for Learning Policy.
  • This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity.
  • Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE.
  • Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my child still be able to express his/her faith at school?

Absolutely. One of the fundamental British values is respect and tolerance of people with different faiths. British law protects people’s freedom to hold their own beliefs. Any prejudice or discrimination towards pupils on the basis of their faith goes against the fundamental British values and will not be tolerated.

How will this affect my child’s lessons?

The curriculum provides lots of opportunities to look at fundamental British values. Your child may already have some experience of this in lessons such as religious education (RE) and personal, social and health education (PSHE). 

Will there be major changes to the school’s ethos?

Our school’s ethos already includes many aspects of the government’s fundamental British values. Promoting fundamental British values will reinforce, not change, our current ethos. 

Where to go for more information 

Contact the school

If you have any questions or concerns about British values and what it means for your child, please do not hesitate to contact the school. 

External information

The following guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) may be useful for further information:

Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools, GOV.UK – DfE 
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/380595/SMSC_Guidance_Maintained_Schools.pdf

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