The DfE have recently reinforced the 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, 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 have now been reiterated. At Miriam Lord these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Children at Miriam Lord Primary School have a voice, and they are provided with lots of opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have an elected School Council which meets regularly to discuss issues relating to the school. This council is representative of the school and is led by Mr Boyle (Assistant Headteacher). To ensure that pupils fully understand the democratic process involved, pupils are invited to produce manifestos and engage in a hustings event.
Within our curriculum, pupils have regular opportunities to discuss world events and current affairs. Examples of this would be the work carried out linked to the EU Referendum where pupils voiced their opinions and shared their views on the Brexit vote. This work is well supported through school assemblies where British Values is explored as a theme, an example being our recent work on the migration crisis affecting those around the world.
The importance of following rules and acting within the law are consistently reinforced through our school ethos and our Positive Behaviour and Discipline Policy. Pupils are taught the reasons behind such laws, how to take personal responsibility for how they act and the sanctions when laws/rules are broken. Visits from the Police and Fire Service help us to reinforce this message, an example of this being our recent work to tackle dangerous parking outside of the school gates.
This work is well supported by work in the classroom and through regular school assemblies, in which themes and topics are discussed and pupils are encouraged to share their opinions i.e. e-safety workshops, sessions on bullying, real-world events such as the Paris attacks.
At Miriam Lord, children are encouraged to make their own choices, knowing that they can do so in a safe and secure environment. We are proud of our ethos at the school and ensure that children are provided with clear boundaries that they work within, but are empowered to take responsibility for their own actions. Learners understand their individual rights and freedoms through a range of curriculum activities, for example through e-safety lessons and making healthy lifestyle choices.
We run a series of faith assemblies in school where children are provided with the opportunity to reflect on, and express their own beliefs. Assemblies are run by members of school staff as well as through our link with the local church (St Paul's Manningham). These activities are supported in the classroom and throughout school through events such as community days and Diwali day.
Children at Miriam Lord know that their behaviours and actions have an affect on the rights of others. All members of the school community treat themselves, their peers and adults with respect. The school actively challenges discrimination and prejudicial views throughout our entire school ethos and curriculum. Examples of this would be through activities such as community days and through linking with schools of a different demographic as part of the School Linking Network.
We celebrate diversity at Miriam Lord and encourage pupils to recognise the differences between themselves and others, as well as understanding how these different contribute to the wider school community. A planned project with 'Stonewall' foundation is aimed at developing this work further by raising awareness of different gender issues and how pupils arrive from different family backgrounds.
Miriam Lord Primary School is situated within an area that is not greatly culturally diverse, so we promote diversity throughout the curriculum and through activities such as 'Community Days'. Children visit places of worship and learn about different faiths in the curriculum, as well as having the opportunity to reflect on their own faith through planned assemblies.
The school community at Miriam Lord is one that accepts the differences in others and celebrates diversity in all forms. All instances of discrimination are dealt with effectively and pupils are challenged to reflect on the choices that they have made.
At Miriam Lord Primary School we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including views that are of an 'extreme' nature.
We have read the Government's Paper on "Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in Schools" (November 2014). Please click on the following link to see the Departmental advice for maintained schools from the Department for Education.