As a Church of England school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at St Paul's.
Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain.
In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the autumn term, and what could be more British than a trip to a pantomime around Christmas time! We also value and celebrate national events. Of course, as a Church school, we take a full and active part in the Christian calendar of celebrations across the year. We also acknowledge the key religious festivals of other faiths represented in Britain today. At St Paul's, British values and Christian values are the foundation blocks upon which all that we do is built.
The values which our school endorses are those of:
These values are ones that are shared by many people in this country because the Christian faith has for centuries been a driving force in our education and legal system and those values have made their mark on our history. We are fortunate in that we live in a country where the majority of people care about the wellbeing of others, where injustice and cruelty to others appals and where people can be stirred to be compassionate and generous in their support for a good cause. These characteristics have not come about by accident but through our history and experiences as a nation. Stubbornness, stoicism and resilience are also traits which as a nation we share but they have also been the vehicle for developing deeply held beliefs about the importance of freedom, justice and the rule of law.
The values that matter and influence public decision making might be summed up by the following list:
- No one is above the Law; the same rules apply to everyone whether rich or poor.
- The Monarch is the Head of the Church and together with the House of Commons and the House of Lords they are the supreme authority.
- Everyone has a right to be treated equally, belonging to a different race or religion should not make any difference.
- Everyone, whatever their race or religion, should deal with each other in a tolerant and open way.
- People are allowed to speak freely and to hold their own opinions, even if they are eccentric, as long as no harm results to others.
- People can buy and sell property, land or belongings, they can sign contracts and have them honoured, without fear of confiscation by the state or other people.
- Encouragement is given to people to volunteer and to set up organisations that explore the interests and needs of a community. They are able to work out for themselves the best way to operate within the law.
- Children are helped to grow up happily in a loving, kind and disciplined environment by being part of a stable, loving family and wider community.
- Learning about the achievements and mistakes of the past and valuing the rights and obligations that have gradually emerged out of the history of Britain.
British values can play an important role in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of the school inspection process from government (Ofsted) inspectors. British Values, as a topic of discussion, has developed in its significance for schools of late. However, it is not something new at St Paul's. Values, including those suggested as 'British values' are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and our thematic curriculum (the IPC). Indeed, ‘values’ has been the focus for our whole school assemblies since 2012.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views.
The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries, for example.
Below are just a few examples of how we promote British values. The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.
Being part of Britain
Children at St Paul's learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our class topics ensure that children have an understanding of what Britain is, learning about:
- Capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
- How ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and ‘the United Kingdom’
- Where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Historically: The main focus for history as part of the curriculum plan is British history. During topics, children learn about an aspect of life and how this has developed and changed over time.
Children, parents/carers and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at St Paul's. Democracy is central to how we operate. An obvious example is our Class Council and Head Boy and Head Girl. The election of the Head Boy and Girl reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret. The Class Council is democratic voice which are children are invited to be part of. Five children from each year group (Year 1-6) come together for an inter-year discussion about school issues. They are typically led by the oldest children. Class Council meets every half term.
Rules and laws
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own class rules, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
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. These values are reinforced in different ways:
- Visits from authorities such as the police and fire service.
- During Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about.
- During other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example.
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- Choices about what learning challenge or activity.
- Choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities.
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
St Paul's is in an area which is culturally diverse and we are proud to celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect is at the heart of our school. Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.