In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education and how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process. This is not something new at Meadowhead Infant School. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and PSHCE lessons. Our own School Values of Friendship, Kindness, Respect, Teamwork and Ambition encompass British Values and our clear expectations for good behaviour, a positive ethos and following the rules are promoted daily through these.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate everybody at Meadowhead. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the Autumn term and our celebrations of Christmas and Easter.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives.
Through our History curriculum, children learn about some key historical British figures and how aspects of Britain has changed over time e.g. the Seaside.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Meadowhead Infants. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our newly–formed School Council. . Made up of a representative from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
Pupil conferencing – SLT and subject leaders regularly speak with pupils from across school to ascertain their views on such aspects as feedback and marking, the curriculum and feeling safe.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by even our youngest pupils.
Rules and laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own set of Class Rules, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways, for example
· during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about.
· during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
· choices about what learning challenge or activity
· choices about how they record their learning
· choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our e-safety and SEAL lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Although our immediate local community is largely from the same ethnic background, several pupils from other cultural backgrounds are fully integrated into Meadowhead . We are lucky enough to reside within a culturally diverse local borough, Blackburn with Darwen and our pupils have lots of opportunities to meet and mix with children and adults from other ethnic backgrounds through festivals, sports days and exchanges. Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever.
Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Meadowhead Infants enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
· through Religious Education, SEAL and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example
· enjoying a depth of study during Themed Weeks, where sometimes we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the world (whilst at other times we might consider groups or individuals who might be vulnerable in some way, for example during an emergency or crisis.
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At Meadowhead Infants, such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our Behaviour and Race and Equality Policies.