PROMOTING FUNDAMENTAL BRITISH VALUES AS PART OF SMSC IN SCHOOL
British Values – what it means at Banks Lane Junior School
In July 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Furthermore, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted’s inspection process.
At Banks Lane Junior School we promote the development of SMSC (‘spiritual, moral, social and cultural’ development) and we encourage our pupils to understand those values which are particularly ‘British’.
We pride ourselves on the ethos of our strong school community and we promote values of tolerance and respect towards people of all faiths, races, abilities and cultures. We are particularly proud to be able to state that our multi-faith school celebrates diversity and provides a nucleus for cohesive and effective relationships in the locality. Many aspects of our programme of SMSC education are initiated in our daily collective worship sessions and are further developed within strands of the wider curriculum as follows :-
- Pupils learn about the locations and differences between the countries of Great Britain and their position in relation to the rest of Europe. They learn about the major towns, rivers, landscape areas in their geography lessons.
- Pupils are taught to understand about the historical migrations which have led to Britain being a diverse nation and are encouraged to take pride in their colourful heritage. They investigate the development of the English language and the origins of regional place names too.
- Pupils are taught about liberty, justice, systems of government and the British value of democracy. Stories, discussion, role play and pupil voice sessions ensure that children are able to make thoughtful and reflective judgements and can involve themselves in the ‘government’ of the school community through devising class rules and via school council elections and activities.
- Pupils are encouraged to understand Christian values through Bible study in RE and are taught to understand that Christianity has a place in the cultural history of Great Britain. Pupils are also taught to understand the concept of ‘faith’ studies of different religious beliefs too, and are encouraged to respect the beliefs of those who follow a different faith than themselves.
- Pupils are taught to recognise the ‘inner voice’ or conscience which tells them what is ‘right and wrong’ and are encouraged to make judgements which demonstrate initiative and a sense of responsibility. Pupils are also taught to recognise that judgements are based on our system of civil and criminal laws of Great Britain. Both staff and pupils are actively encouraged to challenge opinions and behaviours which are contrary to fundamental British values.
- Pupils have specific lessons which enable them to develop self knowledge, self esteem and self confidence. They are encouraged to make positive contributions to the lives of their fellow pupils and others in the local community through outreach activities.
- Pupils are taught songs and which support the curriculum, g. Patriotic songs like ‘The National Anthem’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, and hymns which encourage moral armament in the fight to uphold common decency, e.g. ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘When a Knight Won His Spurs’.
- Members of the school community take part in assemblies and gatherings which explain the origins of the customs of Christian calendar festivals at times like harvest, Easter and Christmas. There are also observances of the rituals linked to other faiths such as the Judaic festival of Chanukah, the Islamic festival of Eid and the Hindu festival of Diwali. Making links which demonstrate the similarities between the scriptures of the three Abrahamic faiths is taught and these similarities are highlighted so as to provide unification between faith types. We also value and celebrate national events such as Comic Relief Day, National Poetry Day, National Book Week and ‘Fair Trade’ events.
- Members of the school community take part in assemblies and gatherings which explain about the making of judicial law and which highlight the unfairness of discrimination and apartheid.
- Teachers uphold standards within their profession so as to maintain public trust in the high standards of ethics and behaviour within education institutions.
Other unique aspects of our ethos are demonstrated through the programme of folk arts activities both in school and through extracurricular clubs run by our partnership organisation Fosbrook Folk Education Trust. These include:-
- The teaching of British folk dance and music;
- Displays of calendar customs and folk art plays;
- A programme of concerts and ceilidhs organised for families.
Pupils are also taught about other cultural traditions so as to be able to compare these with their own and acquire an appreciation and respect for the cultures of Great Britain and other countries.