We value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions and customs in the course of the year, for example, Remembrance during the Autumn term, and the occasional trip to a pantomime around Christmas time (what could be more British than that!). British values can play an important role in education. They’re promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Living and Learning sessions. We value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Scholes (Elmet). British values complement our long-standing aims and ethos, including our overall school aim – to be a happy and healthy place to learn.
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. This is in line with our Positive Relationships Policy.
The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries, for example.
Schools are subject to a duty (Section 26, Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015) to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This duty is known as the Prevent duty. Read more on our Safeguarding page.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Scholes (Elmet) Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our Junior Leadership Team. The election of our junior leaders reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Made up of one representative from each class, the Junior Leadership Team (JLT) meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school; in the past, the JLT has helped to plan some play areas and were consulted on the school logo. The JLT are actively involved in recruitment and in providing teachers with feedback, such as providing a review of themed weeks.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are when children agree their Class Charter and the rights associated with these; all children contribute to the drawing up of the charter. Children also nominate various charities, then within their own class, select two to go forward to the JLT, who then vote to decide two school charities which we support over the course of the year.
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 our 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, classes discuss and set their own class routines and expectations, 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:
- visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
- 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 Online Safety and Living and Learning lessons.
Respect and tolerance
At Scholes (Elmet) Primary, we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs are at the heart of our aims and ethos – To understand and respect diverse values, languages, religions and traditions – and it’s one of our three school rules: We respect everyone and everything.
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. This is part of our Positive Relationships policy. 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 Scholes (Elmet) Primary enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, Living and Learning 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 community themed weeks, where sometimes we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the word (whilst at other times we might consider groups or individuals who might be vulnerable in some way, such as those with mental health issues)
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At Scholes (Elmet) Primary, such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our Positive Relationships Policy.