At Abbotsbury Primary School we uphold and support the need to teach children, both implicitly and explicitly, about important values.
The DfE has recently reinforced 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.”
Although in 2014-15 this is something which is developing in its significance for the government and for schools, it is not something new at Abbotsbury Primary. The values listed by The DFE have been taught and encouraged here for some time, through our regular curricular and non-curricular provision.
We also believe that such values are also not exclusively British, as these are actively promoted in many countries world-wide and, hence, we tend to refer to them using more generic terms, such as ‘Our Values’ or ‘Abbotsbury Values’, whilst still ensuring appropriate coverage of all elements required.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote these values.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard and also to learn about the processes and procedures involved in democracy. At the start of every year each class elects a representative to form our School Council. The children are encouraged to prepare speeches to outline their reasons for wanting to take this office and also to explain what they hope to achieve. They and will take part in debates or hustings, according to their age and development. All the children are then given the opportunity to have a free vote for their chosen representative. The School Council then meets regularly to discuss issues relevant to the pupils. The School Council also meets with members of the Senior Leadership of the school, including Governors to ensure that the pupil voice is heard. The councillors also have the opportunity to meet with local councillors and our local MP and have the opportunity to make visits to the council offices and the Houses of Parliament.
School Council 2014-2015
All children also have the opportunity to vote for children in their classes to receive SEAL awards, which recognise achievement and success in meeting PSHE targets, every half term.
Children have regular opportunities to put forward their views about the school.
In Upper Key Stage 2, the children undertake a specific project, called ‘Micro Society’, where they invent their own society, elect holders of a variety of roles and create their own laws. Democratic procedures are used throughout.
The Rule of Law
Each year the children decide upon their class rules / charter and all the children contribute to the drawing up of these. These are then displayed in the classroom and used throughout the year.
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. Pupils 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service and theatre groups, as well as a range of sporting activities, help to reinforce this message.
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 safely, Pupils are encouraged to know and understand their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Special activities, such as Junior Citizen, anti-bullying and road safety workshops, also help the children to make safe and effective choices. Such activities are sometimes combined within a special themed week, such as ‘Being Healthy, Keeping Safe Week’, where a range of different activities and visits are organised. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, or of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. Children also make choices when they select appropriately challenging activities from our ‘‘Take-Away Homework’ approach.
At Abbotsbury children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect. This is a strength of the school and visitors often comment on the good manners and respectful way that our children behave. Adults provide a positive role model for children and children are encouraged to listen to each other and behave in a supportive and respectful way to each other. We expect our children to extend the same levels of respect to those that they meet outside of school, for example, when on trips or engaged in sporting competitions. We have won several fair play awards in borough sporting events.
Year 5 and Nursery working together.
OFSTED praised the behaviour of the children at Abbotsbury by identifying the following as strengths of the school:
“Relationships across the school are strong, and pupils show courtesy to one another and to adults. Pupils support each other, reflecting adult role models, as they work and play together.”
“Pupils behave well and are considerate of others around the school, which strengthens the school as a caring community.” OFSTED 2013
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
We are fortunate at Abbotsbury to belong to a community that is diverse and culturally rich. We take every opportunity to share the cultures and faiths represented within our school and to learn about those which are not. We celebrate a range of different festivals from major world religions and enjoy using the children themselves and their families to help to share their cultures with others. We welcome visitors from a range of cultures and make visits which enhance our pupils’ experiences. Topic work and special themed weeks also regularly cover these elements. We follow the local agreed syllabus for RE, which covers all the world religions.
“This diverse community is highly cohesive and inclusive.”
“The curriculum effectively meets pupils’ academic needs. It promotes their personal development well and celebrates the diversity within the school so that all feel valued.” OFSTED 2013
At Abbotsbury we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.