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. At West Moors Middle School, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Democracy is embedded at the school. 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. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council and regular questionnaires. The election of the School Council members are based solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. In addition, for example, we have organized visits to the local council and held ‘hot air debates’ and ‘mock elections’ so pupils learn how to argue and defend points of view.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout our school day, through our school assemblies and also when dealing with behaviour in school. We encourage our pupils to distinguish right from wrong and help pupils to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals. Our 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. Visits from the Police, Fire Service etc. have also helped to reinforce our messages. Our restorative justice approach helps us to resolve conflicts and encourage pupils to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
Within school, pupils 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 pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. We support pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely; examples of this can be clearly seen in our e-safety and PSHCE lessons. We implement a strong anti-bullying culture and pride ourselves on being a Telling school.
At the heart of our whole school ethos is a commitment to Living Values – a set of core attitudes that we believe contribute to individuals being able to live happy and successful lives within the communities to which they belong. Themes from assembly and tutor times are chosen to underpin the need for mutual respect between our pupils and their peers, staff, their families and their wider community. Our Values are taught through assemblies and PSHCE sessions and form a key part of our daily dialogue across school. Respect is promoted across school and it is deeply embedded in all that we do. The pupils 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. The core value of Respect at West Moors Middle Middle School underpins our work every day, both in and out of the classroom. Our school frequently participates in learning activities which promote mutual respect and has included, for example, visits to: local first schools, a residential care home for the elderly and a local farm. In addition to these activities, our children are given regular opportunities to learn in their community and beyond, each time an emphasis is placed on respecting those with whom they come into contact and their surroundings. A wide range of extra-curricular clubs are offered at West Moors Middle School both at lunchtime and after the school day. These clubs provide another opportunity for mutual respect to be secured in the attitudes of our pupils, both amongst those participating from their own setting, and any visiting staff or teams.
Tolerance of Those With Different Faiths And Beliefs
Our core value of Respect ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs. West Moors Middle Middle School enhances pupils’ understanding of different faiths and beliefs through religious education studies; PSHCE work; welcoming visitors from other schools that are not predominately white British and enjoying a depth of study during themed weeks. The similarities and differences between ourselves, our pyramid schools and beyond have given us the chance to reflect on celebrating variety and identity. Through this, our pupils gain an enhanced understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society.
Click to download our promoting British Values document