In the 2011 Prevent Strategy, the Government published a statement of British Values. These have been republished and schools expected to reinforce them with students. We are also expected to demonstrate how we help students to understand and embrace these values.
The key points are:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
These values are complementary to those that underpin our everyday activity in school and our relationships and expectations. The values that underpin our work are:
- The power of education to shape the lives of individuals
- The value of hard work
- Equality of opportunity
- Moral purpose, integrity and compassion
- Accountability to parents, carers and the community
Our students experience and explore the British Values, not least in our explicit commitment to developing their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
In addition to the taught elements of the curriculum in which aspects of democracy are explicitly taught – in History, PSHCE and Geography, for example, we provide students with a real experience of democracy whenever we can: our own elections invariably take place to mirror national and local elections, with students acting as candidates, officers and voters. Student Voice is a very high profile aspect of our community – our Junior Leadership Team represent their peers’ views and have been very involved in recruitment, determining key aspects of our behaviour and anti-bullying policies as well as bringing and realising students’ ideas for improving their school experience. Our sixth form council represents the interests of the students, with representation from all tutor groups, as well as leading and organising events.
The Rule of Law
We have clear rules and expectations in school. Not all students agree with them all but they are applied consistently and fairly and students are expected to adhere to them. Accepting that being a responsible member of a community and abiding by rules is good preparation for adult life. Taking responsibility for our own actions is central to our ethos.
Expectations are reinforced in tutor activities, lessons and assemblies. Our students have also been involved in determining many of the rules and are often consulted when they are reviewed. There are many opportunities to discuss the law and how it affects different people. Within our curriculum and extra-curricular programme, there are opportunities to work with the police, with solicitors and barristers, the fire brigade, councillors, local community organisations and other community representatives. These give students a fuller appreciation of the importance of the rule of law.
Our educational philosophy includes a commitment to personalise learning whenever possible. We also work hard to enable students to make informed personal choices, in their learning and in their wider contribution to and participation in school events. We offer a very wide choice of extra-curricular activities – many of them initiated and led by students themselves. We encourage our students to take the initiative, trust them to enjoy their social time and expect them to exercise their rights and freedoms. We put a great deal of emphasis on safety, including e-safety, personal safety and the fact that with liberty comes responsibility to respect others’ rights and liberty.
The supportive and purposeful culture in our school, often commented upon by visitors, depends on mutual respect. We expect the adults and the students to show each other respect.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
In this part of North Yorkshire we are very fortunate to live and work in a beautiful area. Our school community is largely mono-cultural, though within this we have a growing number of students whom English is not their first language and a small proportion from other faith and cultural groups. We actively seek to ensure that our curriculum fills the gaps that children in more diverse communities take for granted. We consciously seek to develop a culturally rich and diverse curriculum including active study and experience of all major religions. Our children are growing up in a complex and ever-changing world: we ensure that we draw upon events on a national and global scale in our PSHCE, curriculum subjects and assemblies, creating opportunities for students to discuss their ideas, challenge each other’s views in a safe and supportive environment and grow in confidence in questioning narrow-mindedness and radicalism, in all its forms.
Our School values are entirely complementary to the British Values outlined by the Government