The Department for Education have 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.”
At The Abbey CE VA Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council, Green Council and Faith Council and Pupil questionnaires. The elections of these Councils each year are based solely on pupil votes.
Children in Year 1-6 will be able to stand for election for these posts. Two representatives are voted for by their class for each Council. Children have to prepare a short speech to the class to explain why they would be a strong representative and what ideas they have. The teachers have a record of prior Council membership, but not all children want to stand for election and this has to be respected. Children are not allowed to stand for the same Council two years in a row.
The democratically elected children will then be awarded their enamelled Council badges and I am sure they will bring many interesting and sensible suggestions from their classes. The School Council will meet with the headteacher at least twice a term to discuss issues and ideas to improve Abbey School. Katie Wright, Chair of the Governing Body, is looking forward to meeting the children to listen to their thoughts and ideas.
The Faith Council will meet at least twice a term with Mrs Yates, our RE Coordinator, to help shape our RE lessons and Collective Worship both at school and in the Abbey. The Dean, Jo Kelly-Moore, will also attend some meetings as will our RE and Collective Worship Governor.
The Green Council will meet with a member of staff at least twice a term to discuss issues and ideas to improve the school grounds and garden, promote recycling, sustainability and environmental issues. The Green Council will meet with the Site Manager and the team of parent school gardeners to discuss ideas and potential projects
Other examples of democracy in action can be seen when the Key Stage 2 netball and football teams weekly discuss as team and then elect the ’most valuable player’ at the end of each match or training session and the votes are counted. Teamwork is an essential part of the Year 5 Chocolate Enterprise Project where the children develop their understanding of democracy and apply it within their learning.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of Laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout school life, as well as when dealing with behaviour. 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 the Police and PCSO; British Red Cross first aiders, Year 6 Cycling Proficiency trainers, Gripping Yarns Puppet PSHE Theatre, Road Safety Instructors and annual Key Stage 2 educational visits ‘Crucial Crew’ are regular parts of our PSHE curriculum and help reinforce these messages. The Year 5 and 6 PHSE curriculum highlights the laws with regards to ‘Drugs and Alcohol’ and ‘Sex Education’.
The child friendly Golden Rules are reinforced to the children by all staff regularly and each year group discusses, agrees and follows Class Rules where rewards and sanctions are enforced. The
School Rules are regularly discussed in assemblies led by the headteacher, reinforced by all staff and are an important part of the new Home-School Agreement. All Year 5 children have responsibility to assist other year groups to uphold the School Rules and Golden Rules during lunchtime on a rota basis.
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 safety, through of provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, how and whom they play with, library book choice or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
The take up of extra-curricular clubs is high in every class and pupils’ roles of responsibility are relished at Abbey School by all children, especially by Year 6. Addition Year 6 positions of responsibility which the children must write an application for will be: two Music Captain posts, Playground Buddy roles and Sports Leaders to lead Sports Day. All Year 6 children have the additional responsibility of being a Special Friend to a Reception child and taking turns reading the bible verse in the Lady Chapel on a Thursday in our Collective Worship.
Our School Vision focuses on Core Values such as ‘Respect’ to teach all children to respect the rights, values and beliefs of all people through the Christian ethos of the school. Pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. It is reinforced through our Golden Rules, School Rules, Home School Agreement, Christian Values as well as our behaviour policy.
The Year 6 and Reception ‘Special Friends’ initiative is well established and highly praised and regarded by children and parents alike and promotes mutual respect between our youngest and oldest children which is then modelled to the rest of the school. The ‘Playground Buddies’ reinforce mutual respect and understanding for the children who need assistance with structuring their play and friendships. The ‘Thinking Trees’ on the school grounds allow all children the chance to have a silent moment of reflection, regardless of their beliefs or religion. Regular language themed weeks and our new link with a French school allow all children to develop their understanding, appreciation and respect for other cultures and traditions in their class, school and country and World that they live in.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes as part of RE lessons. World Faith Day focused on three world religions and religious visitors carried out workshops with all children throughout the day. Ambassadors of Faith and Belief Day was another initiative where sixth form students of differing religions visited the school and spoke to the children studying those religions in RE about what it was like growing up in Britain as a practicing Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim young person.