Promoting British Values at Barnsbury Primary School and Nursery
The Department of Education (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 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 (2014). At Barnsbury Primary School we value the diverse ethnic background of our pupils and families and undertake a variety of events and lessons to celebrate these. We have found this approach to be enriching, as it teaches tolerance and respect for the differences in our community and the wider world. At Barnsbury these values are reinforced regularly through our Values Education programme. Pupils engage with the values and understand their implications for making choices about their attitudes and responses. Through reflecting on the values pupils discover what it means to be good citizens. Underpinning all of this are a range of curriculum topics which have strong links to the British Empire, such as People of the Past, Gateways to the World, The Great, The Bold, The Brave, The Queen and Monarchy, Who am I?, The Church, Christianity, Tudors and Victorians.
Democracy is a strong theme within our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard formally through our School Council, Eco Council and the annual school questionnaire as well as informally though class discussions, debates and an open culture where opinions and views of others are respected. The elections of House Captains, as well as the weekly selection of each class Values Award, are based solely on pupil votes. Barnsbury also applies the United Nations Rights of pupils by ensuring each class collectively decides on the eighth rule of our Positive Behaviour policy.
In Year 1 pupils identify the groups they belong to in Who am I? Pupils learn important adult skills such as reading, writing and mathematics but also discover the skills they need to be part of a group. They begin to understand that their ‘self’ is not just about them but is also defined by their relationships with other. Above all, it celebrates differences whilst seeing similarities in group members so the children understand they are individuals as well as important members of a wider community.
In Year 2, when the pupils learn about People in the Past they explore the difficult decisions that rulers had to make and the fairness of these decisions.
In Year 4, the pupils explore the rule of law during the Tudor era. They explore why Henry VIII changed laws and the impact this had on people and the country. In Year 4 pupils also learn about The Commonwealth, its purpose and those who influence it. Whilst emphasising the values of friendship, diversity, unity and equality that are embedded in The Commonwealth.
The whole school also undertakes the annual Poppy Day remembrance events and a minute's silence is held in addition to a range specially created assemblies.
All year groups undertake debating as part of their English curriculum through their topics e.g. in Year 2 pupils consider if Guy Fawkes’ actions were necessary to get his voice heard.
Wherever possible, examples of British historical figures are used as exemplars and models of inspiration.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout each school day. Our pupils have a strong sense of right and wrong and a keen sense of fairness and justice. They understand rewards and sanctions and what to do to follow them. 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. Visits from authorities, such as the Police, are regular parts of our school calendar and help reinforce this message.
In French in Year 4 pupils learn about Saint Valentine: and discover why he was imprisoned and martyred for his faith under Roman law. Pupils then compare this to British laws.
In Year 1 pupils learn about the roles and responsibilities of the police in their topic A Day in the Life.
In Year 5 pupils undertake the topic Moving People which explores economic migration, its effects and laws that control it. In Year 5 pupils also learn about drugs education. They learn the different classifications of drugs and the law towards these classifications.
Year 6 take part in the Services led “Junior Citizen " programme which highlights both law and community moral purpose, alongside practical skills, to enable our pupils to keep themselves and others safe.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe, supportive and loving environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for our pupils to enable them to make choices safety, through a well-constructed and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our Online Safety programme and PSHCE lessons. Our pupils are given the freedom to make choices, to take calculated risks, to learn from errors and to apply newly learnt skills for the good of the school community.
In Year 1, pupils explore individual liberty through their topic Time Travellers. The pupils travel back in time to the Victorian era and experience first-hand the results of inequality and how it differs from their lives today. They also explore and compare festivals from around the world.
In French, pupils learn about French National Day which introduces them to the French Revolution. Pupils discuss the monarchy and democracy and the values of liberty, equality and fraternity which are represented in the French flag.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
Our school ethos and behaviour policy is underpinned by our Values programme where concepts such as ‘Respect’ are actively taught on a monthly basis (see Values Education section of this website) and pupils are active participants in discussions, assemblies and class reflections related to what this means and how it is shown. This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. International Week in the Spring term also supports children’s understanding of different faiths, beliefs and how to avoid stereotypes. Barnsbury has strong links with the community with pupils visiting St Mary of Bethany C of E Church, The Shah Jahan Mosque and through enjoying termly assemblies from the Christian charity Engage. We also endeavour to recognise all significant cultural celebrations shared by families in our school, e.g. Diwali, Ramadan, Eid etc.
In Year 3 pupils learn about the topic Gateways to the World. Through this topic they learn to identify activities and cultures which are different but equal to their own, why people within groups have different outlooks, characteristics and purposes and some of the similarities and differences between the different countries.
In Year 6, pupils undertake the topic Building a Village which explores the local area and investigates the different faiths, languages and nationalities represented in the school and locality. They consider how this diversity is supported and celebrated in their local community.
In French pupils consider what French stereotypes we might hold and whether they are true. The pupils reflect on how other countries might view Britain and British people and whether this is accurate.