In June 2014, David Cameron 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.
Although in 2014-15 this is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new at Marnel Junior School. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies and religious education. The values are integral to our learning aims which can be found under our curriculum information on the school website.
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 term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world; they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries.
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at Marnel Junior School. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs, festivals and commemorations in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the autumn term, Remembrance Sunday, Christmas and Easter. More specifically, we learn about Britain in lessons.
Year 3 - Locate and name countries making up the British Isles and their capital cities.
Year 4 - Why did the Anglo Saxons and the Vikings choose to settle where they did? What were their settlements like? How did they use the land and how has land use changed today? How did they trade? How is that different today?
Local Study- How and why has Basingstoke changed over time?
Locate and name the main counties and cities in/around Hampshire
Year 5 – An In- Depth study of the UK. Comparison of two different regions in the UK – rural/urban
Year 6 - Name and locate key topographical features of the UK including coast, features of erosion, hills, mountains, rivers
The main focus of the curriculum is British history. Children learn about an aspect life and how this has developed and changed over time. Examples include;
Year 3 - Early Britons and Settlers – The Stone Age and Stonehenge.
Impact of the Roman Empire on Britain/London. British Resistance - Boudicca
Year 4 - The Anglo-Saxons and the Scots. Christianisation and Folk Heroes (Beowulf and St Patrick etc)
Year 5 – A study of an aspect in British history, extending chronology e.g. communication, crime and punishment
Year 6 – A contrast study with British history at the time of the Mayan civilisation. How did it affect us?
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Marnel Junior School. Democracy is central to how we operate. An obvious example is our School Councillors and Year 6 Ambassadors. The election of our School Councillors and Ambassadors reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Made up of two representatives from each class the School Councillors meet regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes, plan events for the whole school and plan fundraising events. The Ambassadors conduct school tours for visitors and welcome parents to Parents’ Evenings.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
- The school council presents three charities that the school can raise money for. A voting system allows all children to make their own choices. The number of votes is used to decide what percentage of money raised goes to each charity.
- Pupil questionnaires allow children to share their views about school. They have an opportunity to say what they like about school and what they would like to change.
- Peer Mentors and School Librarians complete an application form if they would to take up these positions.
- Debating in class and 'lunchtime' debates
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and 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. Children work towards earning a bronze, silver and gold badge by meeting their learning targets. All children know what target they are working towards. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
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 completes work around the school’s 6 ‘qualities’ that have been chosen by pupils in Sept 2014. The qualities are: respectful, resilient, reflective, open-minded, tolerant and co-operative. Using these qualities class charters are agreed and outline a set of 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 PCSOs 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 for example in a sports lesson.
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 and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- choices about how they record some learning
- choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
- choices from a variety of activities at lunchtime.
- Anti-bullying charter
- Listening to children's points of view
- Children are encouraged to make choices about their learning within school
- Food choices at meal times
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely. We place a high regard on e-safety and are explicit with children about why they need to make the right choices when online.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Marnel Junior School enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- Through Religious Education and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world.
- Through assemblies where we celebrate diversity and difference. Children enjoy learning about other faiths and cultures. Great emphasis is placed on our identity as individuals, families and communities.
- By providing alternative activities for children who are unable to take part due to religious beliefs
- Acceptance and understanding of different family circumstances
- Celebrating heritage and language of children
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At Marnel Junior School, such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with school policies.