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 the Prime Minister has reiterated these values this year. At Broxbourne these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is widespread within the school. Pupils engage positively with the realities of life in a democracy, and understand and appreciate the history, heritage and wide ranging cultural influences that underpin our individual and shared experience of life in modern Britain.
The school has a system of Year Councils and a School Council, both of which meet on a monthly basis. The council meetings provide a forum for pupils to discuss issues relevant to their experience of school life and to engage in projects to improve the learning culture, the school environment and support a charity.
Each form elects a male and female representative for the Year Council. In addition each Year Council elects two representatives to join the School Council. They are also joined by two members of the Sixth Form Council, a member of the Governing Body and representatives from the Friends of the Broxbourne School.
Both the Year and School councils have notice boards which display, for example, minutes of meetings and action taken.
The School Council has made a number of significant improvements to the school including implementing a new reward (credit) system, ensuring that the school has more efficient recycling facilities and working with teachers to review the homework system
Through form time pupils have the opportunity to feedback back opinions on their experiences in activities e.g. PSHE day sessions, which are subsequently acted upon.
The role of democracy was reinforced when the school held its own mock election where pupils throughout the school were then given the opportunity to vote in ‘typical’ voting booths. Prior to voting pupils discussed the importance of democracy and were shown videos of the main parties running for election, discussed their policies and the possible outcome of the General Election. Sixth form students participated in a debate with representatives from the five main parties; pupils had the opportunity to put their questions to the candidates on education, immigration, money, the environment and many other topical issues.
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 regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. 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.
Pupils recognise the difference between right and wrong, understand that actions have consequences, and apply this in their own lives by respecting English civil and criminal law. Visits from authorities such as the police and the fire service are used to reinforce tolerance and respect. In addition PSHE activities on ‘crime and punishment’ and ‘drug and alcohol awareness’ are studied at KS3 to reinforce the belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety guide and PSHE days.
Pupils are given the freedom to make choices whether it is through choice of challenge or participation in extensive extra-curricular clubs and opportunities. They have a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves and others, and the world around them, and participate actively in artistic, sporting or cultural activities.
Pupils make choices relating to the KS4 and KS5 curriculum that they wish to follow. All pupils have individual meetings with a member of the senior leadership team e.g. year 9 GCSE interviews, year 11 sixth form interviews, year 11 exit interviews.
A variety of PSHE activities are offered to help pupils to make informed choices about their futures e.g. ‘Young Biz’, ‘What’s My Line’ and student finance.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance
Our approach to school assemblies and behaviour is to have a values led approach. ‘Respect’ is an important value of the schools community code with all members of the school community treating each other with respect. Pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown e.g. show racism the red card. Pupils also are mindful of other pupils within their classes whom are also demonstrating such values. Mutual respect is an integrated part of classroom behaviour, as well as our whole school approach to behaviour.
Through timetabled RE lessons pupils are reflective about their own beliefs and perspectives on life, and the extent to which they are the same as/different to others’ faith, feelings and values. Pupils are encouraged to show an interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues, and appreciate the viewpoints of others. The schools PSHE curriculum provides opportunities to openly tackle controversial issues and challenge misconceptions. Pupils have the opportunity to visit places of significant cultural interest and places of worship e.g. year 7 Bhaktivedanta and St Augustine’s Church trip. In addition we actively encourage visitors from a range of communities and organisations into the school.
The school promotes an environment where all pupils work and socialise with pupils from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, co-operating well, celebrating diversity and resolving conflicts effectively. Ethnic minorities are included in all aspects of the school e.g. leadership roles, sport, drama, music etc.
Pupils go out of their way to develop an understanding of the challenges others face in their lives. Teachers and sixth formers meet regularly to work alongside younger pupils in the school in supporting the human rights organisation Amnesty International. Examples of initiatives pupils have engaged in include supporting women’s rights, challenging inequality between sexes both within the UK and worldwide; fund raising initiatives for Plan UK and their ‘because I’m a girl campaign’; petitions to the US Government supporting the Human Rights Act; ‘Write for Rights’ Christmas card campaign.
Each year group supports a charity and throughout the year plan fundraising and awareness raising activities to support that charity e.g. year 9 inter-form Teens Unite initiative.