Excellent Teaching of Religious Education will enable pupils to learn to think for themselves about British values. Questions about whether social and moral values are best described as ‘British values’ or seen as more universal human values will continue to be debated, but for the purposes of teachers of RE, the subject offers opportunities to build an accurate knowledge base about religions and beliefs in relation to values. This in turn supports children and young people so that they are able to move beyond attitudes of tolerance towards increasing respect, so that they can celebrate diversity. Values education and moral development are a part of a school’s holistic mission to contribute to the well being of each pupil and of all people within our communities. The RE curriculum focuses learning in some of these areas, but pupils moral development is a whole school issue.
Schools do not accept intolerant attitudes to members of the community: attitudes which reject other people on the basis of race, faith, gender, sexual orientation or age are rightly challenged. A baseline for a fair community is that each person’s rights to ‘be themselves’ is to be accepted by all. Tolerance may not be enough: RE can challenge children and young people to be increasingly respectful and to celebrate diversity, but tolerance is a starting point. It is much better than intolerance.
In the RE curriculum attention focuses on developing mutual respect between those of different faiths and beliefs, promoting an understanding of what a society gains from diversity. Pupils will learn about diversity in religions and worldviews, and will be challenged to respect other persons who see the world differently to themselves. Recognition and celebration of human diversity in many forms can flourish where pupils understand different faiths and beliefs, and are challenged to be broad minded and open hearted.
In RE pupils learn the significance of each person’s ideas and experiences through methods of discussion. In debating the fundamental questions of life, pupils learn to respect a range of perspectives. This contributes to learning about democracy, examining the idea that we all share a responsibility to use our voice and influence for the well being of others.
In RE pupils examine different examples of codes for human life, including commandments, rules of precepts offered by different religious communities. They learn to appreciate how individuals choose between good and evil, right and wrong, and they learn to apply these ideas to their own communities. They learn that fairness requires that the law apply equally to all, irrespective - for example – of a person’s status or wealth.
In RE, pupils consider questions about identity, belonging and diversity, learning what it means to live a life free from constraints. They study examples of pioneers of human freedom, including those from within different religions, so that they can examine tensions between the value of a stable society and the value of change for human development.
As a Catholic School we actively promote values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupils' character and moral perspective, through the teachings of the Church. We follow the example of the Good Samaritan where we are called to love and care for our neighbour. We ensure that through our school vision, ethos, agreed rules, curriculum and teaching we promote respect and tolerance for all cultures, faiths and lifestyles.
In so doing we reinforce British values regularly and in the following ways: Our School Mission Statement which outlines our commitment to celebrating and exploring the special gift that we are and sharing these in our community. Our weekly Statements to Live By which help us remember that Jesus Christ is at the centre of everything we do. We promote and aim to have a school community rooted in love, tolerance, respect and celebration of differences. Collective worships where we teach respect for all, right and wrong, tolerance and differences and respecting and following the law. An R.E curriculum with lessons which teach the children about other faiths as well as their own.
A range of curriculum topics which have strong links to British History and reflect modern British culture i.e. the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Tour De France , the London Olympics, Victorian Saltaire, Mary Seacole. Linked projects that encourage children to consider similarities and differences between St Francis Catholic Primary School and our neighbouring schools. Our 'Gardeners & Seeds' Buddying system for Year 6 and Foundation pupils. Visits from authorities such as the police, fire service, ambulance service etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce the rule of law. Working towards School of Sanctuary Status. Participation in faith celebrations that reflects our rich ethnic school population and locality community i.e. Chinese New Year, Eid , Diwali. Team Teach is used by staff as a means of repairing harm and developing relationships. Our School Council and a democratic system of voting and providing a "voice" for all pupils.
Our Head Boys/Girls and Senior Prefects and RE Catholic Life Group who 'set the example' and represent our school. Theme weeks i.e. Anti-Bullying Week, Remembrance, Internet Safety, Black History... Pupils are keen to support charities, whether local, national or global i.e. St Mary's Welcome Soup Kitchen, The Gianna Project, The St Francis Youth SVP, Marie Curie, Cancer Research, Cafod and the Philippines Disaster. Our School Pastoral Care Policies and Procedures, Expectations and Code of Conduct.
St Mary’s & St Peter’s Catholic Primary School – British Values Statement
As a Catholic school our ethos is to uphold the values of the Gospel: respect for the life and dignity of each individual; trust in God; honesty; compassion; forgiveness; mercy; community; servant leadership; equality; simplicity; justice and peace. These values are embedded in all that we teach and are promoted in all of our interactions with others in the school and the wider community.
We fully recognise and embrace the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom and are committed to ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or pressured towards radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.
St Mary’s & St Peter’s has a clear Equality policy which aims to prevent discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status or similar. St Mary’s & St Peter’s also seeks to lay the foundations for our pupils’ future lives, beyond the formal curriculum, preparing them for the diverse and dynamic society in which they will live and work. An understanding of British values is a critical part of this education.
The Government set out its definition of British Values in the 2015 ‘Prevent’ strategy and the Department for Education has reinforced the need 'to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values’. Actively promoting the values means challenging opinions or behaviours in school that are contrary to these values, which are:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect
- tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Many of these values are embedded within our Catholic Ethos and Mission, but in addition St Mary’s & St Peter’s uses strategies within the National Curriculum and beyond to secure pupils’ understanding of the wider implications of British values. The examples that follow show some of the ways in which St Mary’s & St Peter’s seeks to embed British Values.
Elections are held for a male and female school council representative in each class. This fosters the concept of freedom of speech and group action to address need and concerns. Within their classes, pupils are able to vote to make choices brought to them by these representatives.
Pupils explore the principle of democracy in age-appropriate assemblies.
The Rule of Law
The school has a clear behaviour management policy and high standards of behaviour of both pupils and staff are expected by the Governing Body. Our RE and PSHE curricula recognise and underline the importance of the ideas, feelings and needs of others. Assemblies emphasise that we are all equal under the law and that it is not only wrong, but illegal to discriminate against others on the basis of characteristics such as disability, gender, race or faith. Regular visits from authorities such as the PCSO, Fire Service and Cyber Crime unit help to reinforce the message that our laws are for the protection of all.
We aim to ensure that our pupils have the knowledge and confidence to withstand attempts to radicalise them by alerting them to the intolerance that is inherent in all extremist viewpoints.
Pupils at St Mary’s & St Peter’s are encouraged to know and understand their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, e.g. through our Online Safety policy, PSHE sessions and assemblies. Pupils are encouraged to exercise their right to free speech by articulating their views to their School Council Representatives. They also use the pupil ‘Wellbeing APP’ to share concerns about issues, alerting school leaders and initiating a productive dialogue. This has built up a strong sense of trust, because pupils know that adults take their concerns seriously, that they will listen and, where necessary, take action.
We aim to ensure that pupils know their rights, but also that they are aware of the responsibilities that they entail. Teachers and other staff endeavour to set clear, consistent boundaries so that pupils can make informed choices in a safe, secure and supportive environment. St Mary’s & St Peter’s has clear Anti-bullying and Behaviour Management policies that are openly shared with every member of our community.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our faith: Jesus said, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ Our Mission Statement echoes this, with its emphasis on the need to live in peace and harmony in our school. We expect all members of the St Mary’s & St Peter’s community to treat each other with respect, consideration and integrity. Pupils learn through their interactions with staff and each other, in the curriculum, through our core Values and assemblies that their behaviour has an impact on others. They frequently work collaboratively and are encouraged to listen to and value the opinions of others.
Pupils are encouraged to understand and reach out to communities who are less fortunate than themselves and each year raise significant amounts for charity, demonstrating their respect for those who live in very different circumstances to ours.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Despite being a faith school, we welcome pupils from other faiths or none. Our intake is very ethnically and religiously diverse which adds to the richness of our community. Tolerance is emphasised through our RE and PSHE curricula and our assemblies, which celebrate key dates and festivals of other faiths and gives pupils an understanding of the beliefs and customs that underpin them.
Pupils benefit from the opportunity of hearing about different communities and faith traditions in the UK and the world, and we encourage parents and others to share their culture and customs with the children.
We encourage pupils to understand their place within a culturally diverse society and above all to ensure that they leave St Mary’s & St Peter’s with a set of values which will ensure they will contribute positively to society in the future.