Background and Rationale
Though it has acquired a greater urgency in recent months, the importance of schools sharing British values is not new:
- The 2008 National Curriculum includes the following statement:
The school curriculum should contribute to the development of students’ sense of identity through knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritages of Britain’s diverse society and of the local, national, European, Commonwealth and global dimensions of their lives
- The 2011 Teachers’ Standards state, as part of teachers’ personal and professional conduct:
Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
- These values support the national Prevent Strategy, put before Parliament in 2011 by the Home Secretary as a response to radicalisation of British citizens.
The Prevent Strategy recognises the importance of schools in counter-terrorism activities. More recently, concerns about the inappropriate actions of some schools were highlighted in the Birmingham Trojan Horse case, where a number of OFSTED inspections revealed a failure to promote British values adequately in some schools, meaning that young people in them were vulnerable to radical and extremist ideas. Consequently, all schools need a clear statement of British values and how they are promoted through the school’s curriculum. All staff at the Academy have undertaken Prevent training
- In 2014 the DfE produced guidance for schools on actively promoting British values as part of their requirement to provide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of their students
What is meant by ‘British Values’?
The DfE guidelines state that all students should:
- Be able to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England
- Be able to accept responsibility for their actions and contribute positively to society
- Have a good understanding of and respect for public institutions and services in England
- Demonstrate tolerance of and work in harmony with people from different cultures
- Encourage respect for democracy and support the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which law is made and applied in England
Ormiston NEW Academy go about promoting these values?
At Ormiston NEW Academy we focus on the four key British Values defined by Ofsted as:
- The rule of law.
- Individual liberty.
- Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
We believe that our CARE values, outlined on the Academy’s website, promote the British values and are the foundation for developing our students understanding of British Values and SMSC. This key motto enforces that all our students care for themselves, those around them and about their individual success; achieve the best they can academically; show they are respectful and that they are engaged in their learning, showing a thirst for knowledge and resilience.
Specifically British Values are embodied in these ways at the Academy:
- All of our students have two 25 minute lessons of PHSE week where these values, along with other PSHE topics are explored, embedded and re-visited. All students study a bespoke unit on British values and also cover the values when studying other topics such as politics, family, respect, working together and social responsibility. These sessions include several assemblies led by topic specialist from within and outside of the Academy.
- Our students are organised into three houses whose mottos link directly into British values, within these houses students are taught a sense of democracy when voting for representatives to take part in events and when voting for winners of competitions. The students’ involvement in house activities ensure they have full engagement in school life and a keen sense of awareness around social responsibility.
- We have several scheduled ‘awareness’ weeks where students are given a deeper understanding of both local and national issues.
- We hold weekly assemblies with Academy leaders or Heads of Year where many of the British values are addressed and re-addressed.
- All our students study RE (also known as Philosophy and Ethics) in KS3, with an increasing number of students taking the subject for GCSE and A-Level study.
- The school is involved in a number of charity events throughout the year, including events for the named house charities.