Promoting fundamental British values as part of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development at Sawtry Village Academy
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.” Through the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) provision in the Academy we seek to address each aspect:
Spiritual: ability to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, that inform their perspective on life and their interest in and respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values, sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them, use of imagination and creativity in their learning, willingness to reflect on their experiences.
Moral: ability to recognise the difference between right and wrong readily apply this understanding in their own lives and, in so doing, respect the civil and criminal law of England, understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions, interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues, and being able to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others on these issues.
Social: use of a range of social skills in different contexts, including working and socialising with pupils from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, willingness to participate in a variety of communities and social settings, including by volunteering, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively, acceptance and engagement with 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 pupils develop and demonstrate skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.
Cultural: understanding and appreciation of the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and that of others, understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school and further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life in modern Britain, knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain,willingness to participate in and respond positively to artistic, sporting and cultural opportunities, interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity, and the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity, as shown by their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.
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 Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (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 the Sawtry Village Academy these values are taught explicitly through Values and Ethics and Religious Education. We also teach British Values through planning and delivering a broad and balanced curriculum. The school takes opportunities to actively promote British Values through our assemblies and whole school systems and structures such as electing and running a successful Student 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 Sawtry Village 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. In 2015 we held a zone-wide Mock Election to coincide with the forthcoming General Election. This fosters the concept of freedom of speech and group action to address need and concerns. The pledges system also plays a vital role in creating community spirit and participation in events and after school activities.
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. It is expected that students should understand that while different people may hold different views about what is right and wrong, all people living in England are subject to its law.
Sawtry Village 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. We attend the Joint Agency Meeting, and have a central role in the Community.
Within our Academy, students are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As an Academy 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 sex education.
All staff 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 Academy. This can be seen and felt in our pervading ethos in Academy. 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. Students are taught explicitly through a planned and delivered curriculum. 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.
For further information of how the Academy seeks to promote key British Values please contact the leadership team at the Academy.