Promoting British Values at Churchward School
The DfE guidance ‘Promoting fundamental British values as part of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) education in schools’ (November 2014) states that “schools should promote the fundamental British values” and defines these as:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
At Churchward School we actively promote British Values through our school:
- Holistic approach to promoting the Values
- Tutor groups named after diverse role models who have overcome adversity
- Teaching and Learning
- Acceptable Behaviour Policy
- Pastoral support and interventions
- Citizenship work, e.g. donating to Swindon Food Bank
- Activities such as charitable events, e.g. Children in Need
- Assembly planner, e.g. celebrations of culture and diversity, Anti-Bullying Week and Remembrance Day
- Curriculum outings, including work experience
- GREAT points (Good effort, respect, engagement, attendance and try hard)
As part of SMSC education at Churchward School the whole team: staff, students, parents/carers and other professionals work hard to not only actively promote the values but also to challenge any opinions and behaviours amidst our community at Churchward School that are contrary to fundamental British Values. As the vast majority of our learners have a diagnosis of Autism and related social, communication and interaction difficulties, this is an important part of our work, as ‘theory of mind’ and rigidity of thought are common barriers for our students. Therefore, supporting them to understand the impact of their words, actions and influence within the school and more widely in the community is key. For some students with persistent difficulties in this area, they may have EHCP outcomes and 12-month targets that link to concepts around British Values, for example, linked to self-regulation and respecting and accepting others’ views, where this could impact on them or others living a fulfilled, safe and successful future. We build many opportunities in to daily school life for students to make choices of their own and also to respect the choices that others make if they are different to ours’.
The Values underpin and are integral to all that we do here and we make the most of every formal and informal learning opportunity to make them explicit to our students and to help them understand their own valuable and valued place in upholding these Values, to prepare them positively and successfully for life in modern Britain. Students are actively encouraged and supported to make informed choices, to know and exercise their rights and personal freedom, but safely, for example, through our Student ICT Acceptable Use Policy.
Each year at Churchward School our students are able to experience democracy in action through the elections for our School Council. Those elected then represent the views of their tutor group whom they attend regular School Council meetings on behalf of to ensure that everyone’s views have the opportunity to be heard. Bi-annual student questionnaires, as well as student interviews are also held to ensure student voice is high on the agenda at Churchward School.
Our School Council also partakes in an annual visit to the Council Chambers at our local Civic Offices to meet our Mayor, as part of their learning about British Values, British Institutions, democratic processes and how citizens can influence decision making; and this consequently raises awareness across the whole school.
Our School Council also worked collaboratively to identify core values which they thought were important to support the success of students at Churchward School. Six values were identified – one of which is the school value for the term and launched in our ‘Monday morning meeting’ with the students each week to support the promotion of that value throughout the rest of the week amongst students and staff. Our Churchward School values are:
Work experience is an integral part of life at Churchward School for our students in Key Stages 4 and 5 and something many of our younger students aspire to. Through a diverse range of work experience placements on offer, specifically tailormade to the interests of our students, these experiences, which students are usually able to attend over a significant period of time (e.g. weekly for a year), are key to our students transferring their skills and understanding of British Values from the classroom and local community to interacting as an active participant in a real life workplace. This supports them applying tolerance, respect and working with others at a higher level.
Throughout all curriculum areas, notably PSHCE and RE, but also in subjects from maths to English and humanities, students learn about diversity and different faiths and how people celebrate and follow the teachings of their religion. They will look at similarities as well as differences and consider how all religions and cultures can live alongside each other, enriching each other’s lives. Students are given the opportunity to visit different places of worship and have visitors to school from other faiths. We have established close links with our local church and are developing links with our local community as we settle in to our new site. Our students at our Bridges Integration Programme based at Bagbury Park follow our Integration Curriculum. One of the key pillars of learning is ‘Community’ and through this, students are supported with community inclusion and social enterprise.
Students 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. We work closely with authorities such as the Police, Local Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), Fire Service, etc. who help reinforce this message, and are supportive in coming in to school to speak to individuals or groups, as required, to develop knowledge and understanding in these areas and in the British Values of respect and tolerance. In the broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that we deliver there is opportunity to discuss these subject areas, including through our weekly ‘Monday morning meetings’ with the whole school, where there is a review of topical news stories each week.
Promoting British Values is a strong part of our ethos at Churchward School