The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 ‘PREVENT’ strategy and these values have been reiterated recently again by the Prime Minister. The DfE have recently reinforced the need to:
'To Create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all school 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.’
At Saxon Hill School we promote ‘British Values’ through our spiritual, moral, social and cultural education which permeates through the school’s curriculum and supports the development of the ‘whole child.’
We recognise that such development is most successful when those values and attitudes are promoted by all the staff and provide a model of behaviour for our pupils. Our school curriculum offers many broad and balanced opportunities.
We define ‘British Values’ as:
The ability to understand and communicate are the most important areas of learning. We ensure that students are given a ‘voice’ to communicate. This ‘voice’ could be using words, objects, photographs, pictures, symbols, touch cues, eye pointing or body language.
We empower our students by giving them opportunities to make choices about the things that they believe to be important. By valuing each ‘voice’ and by listening and responding to that voice we demonstrate that we support democracy and liberty.
We have an active student council which elects representatives from each key stage. Within the council there are elected positions such as chairperson and vice chairperson. These two people meet with the head teacher to express the views of the council on issues they have discussed and been asked to consider by the senior leadership team.
Rule of Law
We involve those students for whom it is appropriate to set a code of behaviour for their room which reflect the ethos and expectation of the whole school community. We help students make decisions and choices that are acceptable to the school community and society at large.
Students at Saxon Hill learn to manage their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions. Staff are committed to providing a consistent and predictable environment within the school and beyond.
We help some students to understand the connection between actions and consequences. This type of environment enables students to feel safe and secure which in turn promotes the optimum conditions for learning to take place.
Students are encouraged to become good and valued citizens. We do this by supporting each student to become as independent as possible. At Saxon Hill we believe that everyone has rights which includes the right to say 'Yes' or 'No' to ideas, activities or routines. We encourage students to make an explanation for their decision in whatever way is most appropriate. We also discuss the implications and consequences of their decisions. Some students will be able to take responsibility for particular roles and to understand that with certain rights comes a level of responsibility.
Learning to do things independently is an important part of students understanding of who they are and what they believe. We support others by participating in charitable events such as, Red Nose Day/Comic Relief and Children in Need. We believe that engendering a caring and helpful environment and to be independent can boost and nurture a healthy self-esteem. Students are given responsibilities in school and are encouraged to engage in activities such as taking the register and helping in the school office.
School council discusses a number of key issues concerning the school over the year. This also involves being part of the interviewing process for significant positions within school.
All students are encouraged to support each other and this can be seen most often during break time where the older students support younger ones.
Students are encouraged to make choices in as many different settings as possible for example what to make in cookery or what they would like to each at lunch time.
Effective communication is given as a high priority across the school, ensuring that all students can wherever possible express their wishes and feelings.
We promote inclusion in all activities, settings and locations that are appropriate to meet their needs. Within school students work with a range of people and interactions with others are always positively promoted on a personalised basis for each individual. This may include working with students from other schools, coaches, theatre groups etc. The curriculum is personalised and planned each student reflecting their individual strengths and needs. We believe it is important to facilitate opportunities to be part of the community as the pupils, families and staff have much to offer in the development of community cohesion.
Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
We are part of a school and local community where each person is respected and valued equally without regard to ability, gender, faith, heritage, sexuality or race.
Cultural appreciation and development forms part of our curriculum. We place great emphasis on providing encounters and participation in events and celebrations to broaden all students’ experiences and awareness of others.
Our Assemblies help all students find out about themselves and others and linking their lives to the communities in which they belong. The themes cover areas such as: friendships, helping others and celebrations from a range of faiths and world events.
Students are encouraged to experience British Culture through our curriculum themes. For example, pupils have visited many local places such as the Cathedral and the local Buddhist temple. As a school, we take part in sporting activities which helps to instil ‘fair play’ and engender a ‘team spirit.’
Although some of our students may find it difficult to articulate their feelings and concerns staff are attuned to changes in demeanour and well-being that may indicate anxiety or joy.
If they are concerned about a student our accepted practice links to the Child Protection Policy which entrusts a duty of care to all staff to actively protect and promote the welfare of children.
RE is taught in school with a Christian based ethos supporting regular assemblies, collective worship and class based activities. Visits to a range of places of worship take place and local faith leaders visit the schools to support understanding. Each year there is a whole school carol service at the Cathedral.
The delivery of an integrated curriculum enables us to embed British values alongside an understanding of cultural and religious differences. Celebrations of key world religious events take place throughout the year including Diwali, Chinese New Year, Holi etc.
The staff work closely with parents, carers and other professionals to ensure that the Saxon Hill Academy are happy, well cared for and enabled to learn the skills they need to live a fulfilling life as part of their community.