Promoting British Values at Bowdon Church School
The DfE have 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 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 have been reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2014.
At Bowdon Church School we base the way that we behave and treat others on Christian Values, celebrating the Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.) We recognize that these guiding principles are present in other faiths and respect them in all forms. British and Christian values are regularly promoted through high quality teaching, a value based programme of assemblies, our Lifeskills curriculum and a positive behaviour policy which allows pupils to develop and demonstrate skills and attributes that will allow them to contribute positively to life in Modern Britain.
These values are modelled, reinforced and studied in the following ways:
Each year classes from Y2 to Y6 hold elections for School Council representatives. The School Council runs along entirely democratic lines, where every person’s voice is equally important. The representatives are elected based on the qualities that they show and after they have presented their ideas to the class. The School Council is responsible for real decisions made concerning the running of the school and its role in the local and national community.
Other teams in school are formulated based on either application and appointment e.g. the building development team or on a class vote e.g. the Road Safety officers.
At Bowdon Church School each year the children draw up their class rules, the rights and responsibilities associated with these rules. All children are encouraged to contribute to the running of their classrooms and the school.
Our Y6 Management Team is led by a leadership team. A rota is drawn up each term, giving every child in Y6 specific responsibility for organising and supporting specific aspects of school life.
Our school educates the children about democracy through visits to the school by the local magistrates and through engaging in debates and discussions about topics through our curriculum. They thrive upon such debates and their level of understanding is at times quite startling. Y6 regularly base these debates on recent news stories from updates on the whiteboard and their reading of a classroom children’s newspaper. Aspects of democracy are also covered in our studies of History, The Royal Family, Politics and Enterprise. In 2012 the two winning teams of ‘Bowdon Enterprise Challenge’ visited The House of Lords and 10 Downing Street.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws, as part of living and working together as a school community, permeates much of the structures and expectations that we have at Bowdon Church School. They are referred to by children and staff throughout the day and are underpinned by our School Values of Kindness, Responsibility and Respect.
School rules and the behaviour policy are promoted in a way that makes children clearly responsible for their own actions. They are helped to understand that rules and laws exist to provide a fair society for all and to ensure the smooth running of our school and the wider community.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind the rules and law, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. We work closely with parents to encourage their understanding and support so that the children know that the adults around them are consistent in their expectations. Visits from local magistrates and working alongside the police, school nurse and fire service all help to reinforce this message.
At Bowdon Church School we encourage pupils to make informed choices. From the earliest stages of their education in the Early Years, where the children start to learn to choose a behaviour or an activity; pupils have opportunity to influence their learning experience throughout the school. Whether this be through the choice of challenge, how they record their work, choosing books for the library or by choosing to participate in our Enrichment programme. Moreover through our Circle Time programme and PSHCE activities all children are taught protective behaviours, where they learn to take appropriate risk and how to protect themselves in a safe way.
Respecting ourselves, our surroundings and others (including the opinions of others) is a key value for us. It is promoted and encouraged in everything that we do at Bowdon Church School. These behaviours are modelled by staff, explained and demonstrated in assemblies and praised whenever possible.
There is both formal and informal teaching to encourage anti-bullying attitudes. Cyber-bullying has been a recent focus and there is a heightened awareness of this issue, particularly amongst the older pupils.
The basis of class discussions as a part of the S.M.S.C. (Spritual, Moral, Social, Cultural) curriculum e.g. during R.E., History, World Studies, Geography, Lifeskills etc. is respect. Opportunities in both dance, drama and music give our children the chance to learn different cultural songs and dance and to work through scenarios where their respect for themselves or others is challenged. Our children are encouraged to take on a wider role in our community and as a church school we offer hope and joy to the local community through contributing to many seasonal festivals and community events. We also fund raise on a large scale for local, national and international charities; encouraging visitors to talk to the children about the difficulties that they face. This charity support includes the sponsorship of students in Uganda, who regularly report back to the children, thus involving them and raising awareness of the differences and the similarities in their lives. Staff regularly travel to Uganda to work on community projects and we use this as an added opportunity to show the children the similarities of behaviour but difference in opportunity that we can see in these communities. In addition Y6 children are encouraged to join CISV (Children’s International Summer Villages) where they spend several weeks with a youth community from all over the world. Over the past few years pupils have travelled to far reaching parts of the world with this project.
Tolerance for different Faiths and Beliefs:
Although a C of E school, Bowdon Church School is a diverse community with several Christian families coming from other cultures/countries and a significant number of children from different faiths. However although founded on the Christian faith, the school recognises the importance of teaching our pupils mutual respect for those of different or of no faith and of helping them to understand the similarities of the core principles.
Our Religious Education Programme of study includes the opportunity for pupils to ask the ‘Big Questions’ as well as learning about other major faiths. Children from a background of different faiths enjoy looking at the similarities and explaining aspects of their faith to the class. As a school community we respect and value this opportunity to learn about different faiths and beliefs.
Visits to local places of worship happen regularly (cathedrals, churches, temples, synagogue and mosque) and both visitors, pupils and parents are invited to talk about their faith and culture within the classroom setting.
In summary:Bowdon Church School recognises its duty to prepare its pupils for life in modern Britain – that living in a local, national and international community will require them to both understand and appreciate difference, whilst maintaining a shared sense of the structures that are needed to keep individuals and community safe. We celebrate and promote British values that encourage a happy and successful national community.