Fundamental British Values
In June 2014, the Prime Minister emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted's inspection process.
Expected provision should be one which:
- enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
- encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
- enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
- further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
- encourage respect for other people; and
- encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
Although in 2014-15 this is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new at Lansdowne Infants' School. British values are promoted in much of what we do, during school assemblies, Religious Education, and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) sessions. The values are also integral to our vision and values.
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 British values we promote are not unique to Britain. We acknowledge that they differ in no way from the values of the many countries and the cultural backgrounds represented by families at Lansdowne.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Lansdowne. Alongside our learning about other cultures and their celebrations (such as Eid, Chinese New Year and Divali), 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, Harvest Festival, Christingle and Mothers' Day are all celebrated at the local church and we are proud that the whole community come together for this.
Outdoor visits, which are a regular and important part of our curriculum include: trips to the pantomime at Christmas; visits to castles and zoos and to the National Arboretum in November as part of a topic about the 2nd World War. Our Year 2 children are always commended by members of the public at the Arboretum because they are highly respectful, knowledgeable and genuinely interested. We also include opportunities to learn about the countryside and local parks.
The children also learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives such as through Traditional Tales, country dancing and music.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Lansdowne Infants' School. Democracy is central to how we operate. We are part of the Burton Co-operative Trust and as such work closely with seven other schools to promote cohesion and respect.
The election of the School Council members demonstrates democracy in action and elects two representatives from each class. The School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. They help choose the Star of the Week and present rewards.
We actively promote 'pupil voice' and have a full time Pupil Support Manager who is freely available to the children.
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.
Parents' opinions are welcomed at Lansdowne through methods such as questionnaires, parents evening and open sessions.
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 the school rules and class routines, 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
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, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- choices about their own learning challenge or activity through a 3* approach
- 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 PSHE lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Lansdowne Academy serves an area which is culturally diverse and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Tolerance, politeness and mutual respect are at the heart of our aims and ethos.
Our central aim of 'Growing in Hope, Growing in Confidence, Growing Together' drives us towards ensuring that our pupils are able to live and work alongside people from all backgrounds and cultures. This will be particularly necessary in a future where, due to technological advances, the 'world becomes a smaller place'.
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone and to everything, whatever differences we may have. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are encouraged to treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Lansdowne Infants' School enhance pupils' understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons where we develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in art and music by considering cultures from other parts of the world.
- celebrating cultural differences through assemblies, themed weeks, noticeboards and displays.
Whilst instances contrary to our values are relatively rare, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to our values. Each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.