The DfE has recently 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 were reiterated in 2014. At Newland St John’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
As an academy with a Christian ethos, at Newland St John’s children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard.
We have an academy council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in classes. The council is able to genuinely effect change within the academy.
The academy council members for each year group are voted in by their class.
Each term we have a Head Boy and Girl nominated by pupils and voted for by staff, who represent the academy in different settings.
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the academy, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular academy days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through academy assemblies/PSHCE/Circle Time.
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.
They are also made aware, at an appropriate age and stage, of situations where the law has been broken, in the interests of freedom and justice. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
The academy Behaviour Policy is followed throughout the academy and works on a system of rewards and sanctions. Through RE lessons children are also encouraged to make ethical and moral decisions, using the Bible as a guide.
As an academy with a Christian ethos, we believe that integral to our God given image is the freedom to make informed choices free from coercion, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.
Pupils are encouraged to know and understand their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety, circle time and PSHCE lessons.
Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, participation in our extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. We value freedom of speech within the academy community and encourage this to be expressed in a respectful manner.
Fundamental to our understanding of humanity is that we all have an inherent value by virtue of being made in God’s image, and so mutual respect is a fundamental value we cherish. We recognise that within the academy community there are diverse opinions and beliefs, and the right to hold these opinions and beliefs is respected and diversity celebrated.
Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the academy community treat each other and property with respect. The children are also taught the importance of respecting the environment through science and PSHCE sessions.
Newland St John’s is situated in an area which is culturally diverse, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting tolerance and understanding with the children. Our RE and PSHCE teaching reinforce this.
Members of different faiths and communities are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the academy. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
As well as showing respect and tolerance to those of other faiths, we value and celebrate our identity as an academy with a Christian ethos, and the richness this brings to our community.