How does Vermont School celebrate British Values?
The Department for Education and OFSTED recognises the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools 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.”
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated by OFSTED.
At Vermont School values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Children have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our democratically elected School Council. The elections of Councillors are based solely on student votes. Children who would like to stand as a school councillor are expected to make a speech to their classmates prior to the elections. On the day of the elections, ballot boxes and polling booths are used in school and the hall becomes a ‘polling station’. The children experience how to vote using ballot papers. Monthly meetings take place to discuss issues which are important to the running of the school and pupil representatives are expected to consult with their peers about issues which are important to them.
The Rule of Law:
Classes establish rules which are reviewed and emphasised throughout the year. Children are expected to sign a class contract or charter demonstrating their participation in the creation of the class rules and also their agreement to them. Clear and consistent rules are set for behaviour expectations around the school and these are reviewed both with the staff, children and school council regularly. Restorative Practice is used to support children in understanding the impact of their actions on others.
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Children 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.
Within school, children 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 our young people to make choices safety, through of provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether through choice of subject matter, challenge, of how they record, or of participation in our extra-curricular opportunities, our children are given the freedom to make choices.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘Respect’, and children have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Social Skills and PSHE sessions promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy. All members of the school community use the language of Restorative Practice to encourage the children and adults to reflect on how their actions may impact on others.
Understanding of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
One of the International Primary Curriculum's key goals is to develop an international perspective. This is achieved through enhancing children’s understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Units of work teach the children to have a knowledge and understanding of their own national culture as well as giving them an awareness and understanding of the independence and interdependence between peoples and countries.
Assemblies and discussions about prejudices and prejudice-based bullying, support learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are invited in to share their knowledge to enhance learning across the school.