British Values at St. Anne’s
In 2014, the Department for Education instructed all schools to promote British values. These values fall into the following categories: democracy; the rule of law; individual liberty; mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Here at St. Anne’s, we promote British values in a range of ways, not least through our Catholic ethos. All our staff are expected to uphold and promote these values in whatever position they may hold. This policy document will outline in greater detail how British values are embedded at St. Anne’s.
Children are given a voice in the school through the school council. The council is made up of representatives voted for by their peers. The school councillors represent the wishes of their classmates at meetings, and feedback the decisions of the council to their respective classes, directly reflecting the nature of this country’s democratic system of governance.
The Rule of Law
Through our rigorous R.E. curriculum, children are taught and reflect upon what is right and wrong. This is further embedded through our daily acts of worship, liturgies, reflection times and our Catholic meditation programme in Key Stage 2. Our P.H.S.E programme examines children’s roles in relation to the rules of our school, as well as in the wider society in the form of laws. As part of this programme, and as a school, we actively encourage children to take responsibility for their own behaviour.
Children are taught to be aware of the choices they make, and the impact these choices can have. In our computing curriculum, E-Safety is at the heart of this where children discover that the Internet offers a multitude of choices, and are taught how keep themselves safe by making the right choices. As part of our Catholic ethos, we support children in respecting each other’s choices as God gave us the free will to make those choices.
At St. Anne’s, respect for each other is central to our culture. ‘Pupils are kind and thoughtful and show respect towards each other and to adults (Ofsted)’. Children know that as disciples of Jesus, they are all equal and treat each other accordingly, regardless of race, gender or faith. As part of our Catholic R.E. curriculum, studies of other faiths are followed to promote an understanding of the many values shared by the world’s major religions.
Implementation of the Prevent Strategy (2011) is taken very seriously at St. Anne’s through rigorous staff training at all levels. As a school, we have a legal responsibility to prevent extremism and religious radicalisation, and staff are vigilant in looking out for children who may be at risk of being radicalised.
Despite the programmes and policy implemented at St. Anne’s, it cannot be assumed that British values are accepted, especially when they may differ from views held at home, or in particular groups within communities. Consequently, some issues are explored more in the form of an enquiry, so children have a chance to arrive at an understanding through their own reflections.
St Anne’s follows the Portsmouth Diocese programme of study, God Matters. Children investigate some of the big questions in society, often related to fairness and choice. The scriptures studied provide prompts which guide children through these questions and help them arrive at appropriate answers.
Daily Acts of Worship
As a whole school, in key stages, in classes and in small prayer groups, bible stories and images are shared with children. Prayer, reflection time and guided meditation are used to allow children the opportunity to digest the meanings and share their own interpretations. Although these acts of worship are Catholic in content, they do enable children of all faiths to apply what they have learnt in their own lives, and of those around them, in accordance with British values.
Using team games as the context, the British values of fair play and mutual respect are embodied in ways that allow children to see how they work in action. Conversely, children are also able to learn in a safe environment the consequences of how games are lost when they fail to respect their teammates, and opponents. Additionally, the subtle virtues of magnanimity in defeat and modesty in victory can be quietly absorbed.
The broad curriculum followed by the school provides ample opportunities for children to understand the importance of tolerance, respect and the responsibility that stems from individual liberty. Children are able to enquire, discover and recognise the differences between people and faiths, and reinforce tolerance and respect across the school.