In November 2014, the Department for Education outlined its non-statutory advice for schools regards how they should promote fundamental British values. It states that maintained schools, like ours, now have obligations under section 78 of the Education Act (2002) requiring us, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, to promote the spiritual, moral cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society.
- Through ensuring robust SMSC provision, a school can also demonstrate that it is actively promoting fundamental British values.
- By providing opportunities for collective worship and by providing relevant activities beyond the classroom (i.e. Year 4’s annual visits to St John’s church, assembly time) a school can demonstrate pupils’ SMSC development.
- A school needs to encourage its pupils to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.
- It is expected that pupils should understand that while people may hold different views about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, all people living in England are subject to its law. School’s teaching and ethos should support the rule of English civil and criminal law. It is expected that pupils are made aware of the difference between the law of the land and religious law.
What are the ‘fundamental British values’ the paper refers to?
The paper puts forward the following as fundamental values;
- the rule of law,
- individual liberty,
- mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Examples of actions
The Department for Education has given examples of different actions that schools can take to show that they are upholding British values. They suggest that schools could:
The aims of our SMSC provision and how these uphold ‘fundamental British values’
- include in suitable parts of the curriculum, material on the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy and democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries;
- ensure that all pupils have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrate how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes such as a school council whose members are voted for by the pupils;
- use opportunities such as general or local elections to hold mock elections to promote fundamental British values and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view;
- use teaching resources from a wide variety of sources to help pupils understand a range of faiths, and;
- consider the role of extra-curricular activity, including any run directly by pupils, in promoting fundamental British values.
Below is a list of aims for our SMSC provision and, underneath each of these, I have outlined an ‘evidence base’ explaining what we currently do in school in terms of actual provision.
- Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
PSHE lessons, Circle/Discussion Time, Student Leaderships roles (Prefects, School Councillors, Children Reps, Peer Listeners), Talking/Learning Partners in Literacy & Numeracy
- Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England.
Collegiate creation of ‘Class Rules’, Behaviour Code, acceptance of Home/School Agreement, Rewards Evening, PSHE lessons, Anti-Bullying Week, Collective Worship
- Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behavior, 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.
Collegiate creation of ‘Class Rules’, Behaviour Code, PSHE curriculum, Collective Worship, Anti-Bullying Week, Charity Week, an annual calendar of charitable ‘events’ (i.e. Children in Need each November, Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day), Enterprise Week.
- Enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England.
PSHE curriculum, visitors from emergency services to school, Collective Worship, links with Rev. David Hull from St John’s Church, First Aid Training for upper-school pupils.
Culture Week, RE & PSHE curriculums, Collective Worship, Anti-Bullying Week
- 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.
Culture Week, RE & PSHE curriculums, Collective Worship, Anti-Bullying Week, Behaviour Code, ‘Class Rules’
- 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.
The election of the School Council , the application process for Student leadership opportunities (i.e. Children’s Reps), PSHE curriculum, preamble to the setting of ‘Class Rules’, History curriculum, selection of theme for Charity Weeks