The Department for Education state 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 in 2014. In addition, guidance was published by the DfE in November 2014 and states that as part of SMSC provision schools should:
Through their provision of SMSC, schools should:
• enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
• enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
• encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
• enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
• further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
• encourage respect for other people; and
• encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
The guidance also gives specific examples of the understanding and knowledge that is expected of students.
• an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;
• an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;
• an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;
• an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
• an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; and
• an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.
At Nene Park Academy these values are taught explicitly through Personal, Social, Health and Emotional (PSHE), and Religious Education (RE). We also teach British Values through planning and delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.
The Academy takes opportunities to actively promote British Values through our assemblies and whole school systems and structures such as electing and running a successful School Council. We also actively promote the British Values through ensuring our curriculum planning and delivery includes real opportunities for exploring these values. Actively promoting British Values also means challenging students, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.
At Nene Park Academy we uphold and teach students about the British Values which are defined as:
- Rule of Law
- Individual Liberty
- Mutual Respect
- Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Democracy is an important value at our school. Student leadership opportunities exist throughout the Academy, both as part of the House system and within individual subject areas. The positions of Head Boy and Girl are established through an election process which involves the nomination and selection of candidates, running a ‘campaign’, hustings and a democratic vote. In 2015 we will be holding a school-wide Mock Election to coincide with the forthcoming General Election.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws and rules, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days. Nene Park Academy has established a clear set of ‘Expectations’ which aim to support individual progress, respect for others and the recognition that the school is a shared community with common values. We also work closely with local agencies such as the police, PCSOs and Youth Offending Service, and have a police officer based in school two days a week.
The school participates in the annual Bar Mock Trial Competition run by the Citizenship Foundation. In the past six years we have been Regional runners-up on two occasions, and Regional Winners on one occasions. Several of our students who have taken part in this event have since gone on to pursue further study and careers in law.
Within school, students 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 students to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment, a planned curriculum and an empowering education. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-safety teaching and delivery of sessions on alcohol, drugs and SRE.
All staff are informed of the key elements of the PREVENT agenda as part of our work on safeguarding and this is re-visited at least once a year in staff training sessions.
Respect is one of the core values of our school. This can be seen and felt in our pervading ethos in school. The students know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small. Children and adults alike, including visitors are challenged if they are disrespectful in any way.
Tolerance of Those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
This is achieved through enhancing students’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and this is reflected in our school community with around 30% of students having English as an Additional Language. Our students come from all parts of the globe and we consider this a strength of our school community. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudiced-based bullying have covered areas such as homophobia, disability and racism. Events such as Remembrance Week include specific references to those from other faiths and cultures. The school monitors incidents that involve those of ‘protected characteristics’ and notifies the local authority of any concerns. In 2014 the school established a prayer room that is available to students from all faiths.