At Robert Arkenstall Primary School we actively seek ways to help children explore the values of our society, the values which underpin our school vision. Making implicit values explicit ensures open and constructive dialogue within our school. We enjoy finding ways to model and celebrate the core values of a welcoming and open community throughout our school curriculum, both in taught lessons and in all interactions with each other.
We agree with the DfE that British people particularly value democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. In teaching the personal values of participation, honesty, respect, peacefulness, freedom, we allow children to explore and reflect on ideas which help them to become caring, thoughtful and active citizens.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, identifying five key values upon which our society flourishes. We pride ourselves on the many ways in which, here at Robert Arkenstall, we provide children with opportunities experience and learn about those values for themselves.
Democracy: Democracy is rife within the school.
Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Class and School Councils. The elections of School Council Representatives is a great event at the start of each school year. Pupils who stand for election are invited to present their manifestos in class and we use a rigorous system of polling booths, voting slips and an authentic ballot box overseen by Year 6 returning officers. Results are declared at a special assembly.
Pupils in class decide their class codes at the start of each year through a democratic process of debate and agreement. All class members sign the code and display it prominently in class.
The Rule of Law: The importance of laws or rules, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced constantly
We acheive this particularly through school assemblies and when dealing with behaviour. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules, that rules and laws govern and protect us, the responsibilities of individuals to follow rules and laws and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service; etc. help reinforce this message. Study of such topics as Magna Carta help children understand how Britain comes to hold and respect the Rule of Law.
Individual Liberty: 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 young pupils to make choices safety, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and how to exercise these safely (for example through our Online Safety and PSHE lessons).
Mutual Respect: Our school aims contain commitments for all stakeholders.
Implicit and explicit through these commitments are expectations of respecting others. Pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. They review and reflect on codes of conduct each year.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. We recognise that sometimes this can be a challenge in Cambridgeshire Fenland, but our teachers actively seek ways to bring diversity into the classroom life both through regular planned topics and through use of resources like Guardian Eye Witness, or carefully selected library books.
The law states that school assemblies should be ‘wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character’. We interpret this to mean that the values put forward through assemblies are those to which a Christian would agree; however every effort is made to ensure that these themes and values are also those to which those of any or no faith would also subscribe.
Recent assemblies which would illustrate this include: the World War 1 BBC live assembly; an assembly on the Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai; a celebration of the Queen’s achievement in being the longest reigning monarch of our country, Rev Jim's assembly about supporting refugees and the plight of the Syrian which focussed on our similarities as families and friends under one sky, who dream of peace.
Tolerance and respect of those with different faiths and beliefs is an integral part of the teaching; explicitly in RE and PSHE.