As part of a Community School, we believe that British Values are embedded right across the curriculum at Whittington Green and we strive to ensure that our students are nurtured and are taught a clear set of values and a sound understanding of tolerance, community cohesion and rights and responsibilities.
We have a British Values programme that we deliver to Y5 students from our local primary schools over the school year. Each day we focus on one of the British values and deliver themes lessons on each of the 5 days.
The Department of Education 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 this year.
If we take each of these aspects individually, these are addressed in the following ways at Whittington Green.
At Whittington Green democracy is taken very seriously. Children are actively encouraged to have a voice and share their views and opinions regularly through various mediums, notably our Students Council group who meet discuss every aspect of school life. They meet as a whole group and then feedback to the rest of their own Tutor Group. Every September, each tutor group will elect their two representatives.
During PHSE lessons students learn about the different political parties and are given the opportunity to research different topics and formulate their own view and opinions. Local Councillors come into school to work with our students and hold debating sessions.
Student questionnaires and interviews are conducted to cover a variety of different aspects, with their student voice helping to inform decisions made by the leadership team.
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 the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Children 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. Rights and Responsibilities is embedded right the way throughout our PHSE curriculum.
Our Expectations and Positive Support Programme are included in every student’s planner and is displayed all around the school. Students are completely aware of the sanctions in place and know that actions always have consequences. Parents are kept informed through daily texts messages, phone calls and comments in planners for poor behaviour.
Visits from authorities such as the Police and strong links with the PCSOs help reinforce this message.
Within school, students are actively encouraged to make decisions and choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young people to take risks and make choices safely. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, how they record their learning, participation in one of our extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, students are given the freedom to make choices and make decisions.
In addition, students are offered and encouraged to involve themselves in further areas of School and Community life. The whole School supports individually liberties but also individual responsibilities. Within School, opportunities offered to students include Peer Mentors, Sports Leaders, Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, Reading Partners and School ambassador giving them the freedom and responsibility to lead different aspects and areas of School life.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Students learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. This is promoted throughout the PHSE programme and is also embedded in our whole School ethos.
Tolerance of Those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Whittington Green is situated in an area which is not culturally diverse, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our PSHE teaching reinforce this. Students explore different world faiths alongside their learning about Christianity. By the time they leave us all students have learnt about the beliefs and practices of people of the following world faiths; Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Visits are held throughout the year so that students can experience differing faiths first hand, from visits to a Mosque and the Open Centre in Derby Beth Shalmon and the Holocaust Centre..
In July students in Year 7, 8 and 9 received a full days’ workshop on Extremism and Radicalisation. The aim of the sessions was to support our British Values curriculum and to educate students in how to recognise extremist views and how to prevent themselves being drawn into radicalisation. Rather than teacher-talk we were privileged to be able to host Professor Manny Barot and two of his colleagues who spent the day with our students and were able to give them first hand, personal accounts of their experience of radicalisation and extremism.
Manny is an ex-police officer who spoke of his experience of being on the receiving end of racism throughout his life as he discovered that even nice people can be racist; from mums at football training to people passing him and his family in the street. Manny joined the Government ‘Channel’ programme aimed at providing support to individuals at risk of being drawn into violent extremism which is where he met Chris.
Opinions were challenged and minds opened as students were made to make life changing decisions and tackle their own prejudices head on; students were placed in an emergency scenario and were forced to decide which student’s life should be saved and who should be sacrificed. We listened with ‘Games of Thrones’, were moved by Leicester University’s ‘Harms of Hate’ and were brought to tears as Manny recounted his daughter’s reaction as he became ill with a brain tumour.
The day was incredibly powerful and moving and students were incredible in terms of their listening, their involvement and their engagement with some really difficult and challenging issues.
The feedback from students was really positive with students calling it ‘inspirational’, ‘insightful’ and ‘emotional’, with students even handing Manny hand written notes expressing their gratitude.
The sessions were followed up with several lessons in PHSE for both year groups, with students discussing the issues in more depth and detail and reflecting on what was an incredibly compelling, captivating and absorbing day.