In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education.
This was not something new at Nacton Church of England Primary School. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Personal, Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning.
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.
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.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Nacton. 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, our Autumn celebration about the harvest & bonfire night, Easter egg hunting and our Summer Fair with donkey rides and of course our Christmas celebrations! We also value and celebrate national, charity and sporting events such as the FIFA world cup, Children In Need and the WW1 Centenary. We have raised over £2000 over the last two years for charities including Emmaus Ipswich, the Lighthouse Women’s Aid, the Poppy Appeal and Save The Children.
Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically and historically: We ensure that the children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
- its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
- the local area, specifically the farming background of the village and the river
- how ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and ‘the United Kingdom’ where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
- British history, Monarchs, rulers and significant events that defined society
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Nacton Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action. Made up of one representative from each class, the School Council 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.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
- children agree their Class Charter and the rights associated with these; all children contribute to the drawing up of the charter
- using Pupil Feedback forms, children are asked to respond and reflect on the teaching and learning
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, each class discusses and sets its own Class Charter, 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 our e-safety lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths, beliefs and backgrounds
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 Nacton Primary enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education 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
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At Nacton Primary, such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our policies and are followed up.
At Nacton we aim to:
- Provide high quality teaching within a broad and balanced curriculum.
- Support children towards reaching their academic, emotional and physical potential.
- Develop in each child an enquiring mind and promote a love of learning.
- Offer a rich variety of opportunities and experiences for children to enjoy their childhood, extending their creative and social abilities.
- Encourage in pupils: responsibility, honesty, tolerance and a healthy self-esteem.
- Provide a secure, caring and stimulating environment.
- Encourage an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith and beliefs, and promote Christian values through the experience offered to all pupils.
- Promote a respect for others and the wider environment.
- Encourage each child to make a continuing contribution to their community.
- Work in partnership with the parents and carers of our pupils.