British Values and the Prevent Strategy
How do we develop British Values at St John’s C of E Primary School?
You will have seen or heard about how the government is keen that schools have a focus on British values. The information below sets out how we currently teach each of these values.
St John’s C of E Primary School: A Christian Education
We have a strong Christian ethos in school and are proud of our links with the local churches and leaders of the Christian faith. We recognise that Christian Values and British Values are not necessarily the same thing, however we feel well placed to promote strong British Values within our existing ethos. Our school believes in honesty, trust, sharing, caring, being kind and having fun. We believe these values are both British, although not exclusively, and also Christian.
Introducing spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC)
Spiritual development relates to that aspect of inner life through which pupils gain insights into their personal life. Spiritual is not just about with religion; all areas of the curriculum may contribute to pupils' spiritual development. It is about the development of a sense of identity, self-worth, personal insight, meaning and purpose.
Moral development is about building a framework of moral values for pupils, which allows them to take control of their personal behaviour. It is the development of pupils' understanding of society’s shared and agreed values; including an understanding that there are difficult issues where there is disagreement, and that society’s values change. It is also about pupils gaining an understanding of the range of views and the reasons for the range; and developing an opinion about the different views.
Social development is about helping young people to work effectively with each other and to participate successfully in the community as a whole. It is about the development of the skills and personal qualities necessary for living and working together; and functioning effectively in a multi-racial, multi-cultural society. It also involves the development of the inter-personal skills needed for successful relationships.
Cultural development is about pupils understanding their own culture, other cultures in their town and region and in the country as a whole. It is about understanding cultures represented in Europe and elsewhere in the world; about understanding and feeling comfortable in a variety of cultures and being able to operate in the developing world culture of shared experiences provided by television, travel and the internet. Young people need to understand that cultures are always changing. It is also about educating pupils and preparing them to cope with the needs of these cultural changes.
The DfE have 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.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister this year. At St John’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
At St John’s we are striving to be the BEST. This message is constantly reinforced to children and communicated on school newsletters to parents.
Children are encouraged to work together effectively and treat each other with respect in a number of ways
- Paired and group work across the curriculum (This includes peer and group assessment of work)
- Sharing, valuing, discussing and acting on ideas through the School Council
- Our children all take part in a strong program of lunchtime and after school activities which insist on this core value for successful participation. We have teams which compete in a range of activities from dance to tag rugby.
- Regular assemblies focus on looking at your own needs but also considering the needs of others.
- There are plans in place to set up a blog, written by the children, which documents and records positive interactions and acts of kindness.
Equality between boys and girls
At St John’s we offer a wide range of activities and learning opportunities to all children. Through our PSHE curriculum, assemblies, extra-curricular activities and enrichment work we challenge stereotypes of all types. For example, our school council is open to all and we have 1 male and 1 female member elected from each class. We celebrate the difference in each person and the special qualities that each child brings to our school. Our extra-curricular provision actively encourages all pupils, regardless of gender. We celebrate the success of all learners in a number of ways and regularly stress the qualities of those which have led them to their success. We do this through Achievement Assemblies and a range of other rewards. We assess the achievement of boys and girls in each subject, in each year group on a half-termly basis; thus allowing us to track any discrepancies and put support in place where it is required.
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, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms. We offer support and advice on how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in extra-curricular clubs and opportunities; pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Democracy, Tolerance and Cultural Diversity
The school has a thriving and strong school council which is elected on a yearly basis from each class. The children are taught about how adults elect councils and members of parliament in order to represent their interests and give them a voice. In the same way, through assemblies and our PSHE curriculum we discuss the theme of pupil voice and what they would like to see in the school.
Class 2 visited the Mayor of Stapleford and learned about the role of the town council. Special assemblies were also held around the time of the general election to educate children about the process of electing a new government.
The children’s opinions are vital. We assess this through pupil surveys, which we carry out as part of our monitoring programme. The feedback from this and school council play a part in school improvement planning.
Our Behaviour Policy is very clear on the need for each child to respect the needs of others and that they should ‘promote peace’ in everything they do. We would like to develop a ‘Global Learning’ thread to our curriculum, with links made in the curriculum to schools in other parts of the world. This will provide useful opportunities to develop the pupils’ writing and language; as well as allowing them the chance to learn about how different people live in different cultures. The aim is to develop tolerance and understanding of others and not to judge them by how they live, or by previous stereotypes held about them.
Our RE and PSHE curriculums supplement this with work on different religions and comparing them to the Christian religion. They look at how children and adults live and draw out similarities and differences to their own lives.
The Rule of Law
The school has a very clear Behaviour Policy which spells out the differences between acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. The policy has a very clear and structured approach to both rewards and sanctions. These are reviewed on a regular basis and a lot of the discussion between adults and children centres on being the BEST.
Regular assemblies link our expectations for behaviour to laws which apply to both adults and children. We talk about acceptable behaviours and what will happen to you in your life outside school if you choose not display acceptable behaviours and respect the rule of law. We welcome visitors from authorities within the community, such as the Police and Fire Service to help reinforce this message
What is the Prevent strategy?
‘Prevent’ is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes.
The Prevent strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent Islamist groups and other causes.
How does the Prevent strategy apply to schools?
From July 2015 all schools (as well as other organisations) have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism.
This means we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views the same way we protect them from drugs or gang violence.
Importantly, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.
All staff at St John's updated their Prevent training on 4th September 2023.
What does this mean in practice?
Many of the things we already do in school to help children become positive, happy members of society also contribute to the Prevent strategy.
- Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity
- Challenging prejudices and racist comments
- Developing thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity
- Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, as well as British values such as democracy
We will also protect children from the risk of radicalisation, for example by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist and terrorist material, or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils.
Different schools will carry out the Prevent duty in different ways, depending on the age of the children and the needs of the community.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Prevent relate to British values?
Schools have been required to promote British values since 2014, and this will continue to be part of our response to the Prevent strategy.
British values include:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty and mutual respect
- Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Isn’t my child too young to learn about extremism?
The Prevent strategy is not just about discussing extremism itself, which may not be appropriate for younger children. It is also about teaching children values such as tolerance and mutual respect.
The school will make sure any discussions are suitable for the age and maturity of the children involved.
Is extremism really a risk in our area?
Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. Some of these may be a bigger threat in our area than others.
We will give children the skills to protect them from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.
Extremism – vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values such as democracy, the rule of law and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Ideology – a set of beliefs
Terrorism – a violent action against people or property, designed to create fear and advance a political, religious or ideological cause
Radicalisation – the process by which a person comes to support and be involved with extremist causes.