British Values at Highwoods.
In its press release on 27 November 2014, the Department for Education told all schools to promote ‘British values’ and produced advice for doing so through SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural)
According to Ofsted, British values are:
- the rule of law;
- individual liberty;
- mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith
At Highwoods we believe that we have always promoted British Values. Community is at the heart of all we do. We promote community cohesion by working closely with various groups within our local vicinity. For example, we work with various church groups, local businesses and parents who are experts in various fields. Parents are invited in for various activities such as the Year 6 Coffee morning House Events and class lunches.
We provide our pupils with a safe platform to explore British and Global current affairs through a flexible curriculum that is aimed at giving them opportunities for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
At Highwoods, we believe that we promote democracy through various school activities. We believe that, in its simplest terms, democracy is a government of the people, by the people, through their elected parliament.
We allow our pupils to explore this by having a say in as many areas of their school life as they can. For example, the pupils vote for House Captains, School Council representatives and Eco representatives. This is reflected throughout the school, beginning in Early Years where the pupils choose their own learning opportunities and continues as pupils progress through the school. Some of our KS2 themes (eg Dish, Dosh Splosh in Year 6) also give the pupils the opportunity to learn about what democracy looks like in the UK and the rest of the world.
Rule of Law:
At Highwoods Community Primary school, we promote the value of the Rule of Law through our entire ethos, which focuses on putting mistakes right and being accountable for choices. Pupils benefit from our behaviour policy and Highwoods High 5- The school’s 5 key rules are: Positive, Responsible, Respectful, Honest and Kind. Staff are also beholden to the rule of law and are governed by the Staff code of conduct. At the start of KS1 and again in KS2, pupils sign the Home-School agreement ensuring pupils understand what is expected of them during their time at Highwoods.
Additionally, pupils will come to a greater understanding of the Rule of law in UK society through a diverse curriculum that develops personal growth and SMSC, including:
- Circle Time in all years, where pupils are introduced to spiritual concepts such as fairness and tolerance
- “Heroes’ theme in Year 1, focussing on the work done by police, doctors, teachers and other public sector workers.
- A close focus on E-Safety throughout the school, introducing pupils to the rules around the use of social media as well as guidelines for remaining safe and happy online.
- “Moving on and Growing Up” theme in Year 6, which includes information on legal and appropriate interactions
- Crucial Crew workshops in Year 6, where children learn more about the role of the emergency services and how to keep themselves safe.
- Our PSHE Curriculum, which follows the SCARF programme of study.
At Highwoods, we believe in the importance of autonomy, leading to increased responsibility of pupils as they move up through the school. Through our rich themes and PSHE curriculum, our pupils are encouraged to speak freely, challenging ideas and putting forward their own points of view and opinions. Pupils are encouraged to choose their own religions and beliefs and their own friends and social groups. Our youngest learners are encouraged to choose their own learning opportunities, and this skill is then harnessed as they progress through the school. Our pupils are also taught how to recognise their individual freedoms such as the rights to personal space.
Tolerance of those with different Faiths and Beliefs.
At Highwoods, we promote tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs by providing a safe platform for exploration of current affairs and world issues. Our RE curriculum covers the six main world religions and allows children to explore their personal spirituality throughout. We also ensure we respect families’ own beliefs.
Our assemblies allow for reflection time, as do sessions such as Forest Schools. All pupils benefit from Circle Time and some pupils are supported socially and emotionally through small group interventions, such as Rainbow Group or Play Therapy. We take issues such as racism and bullying very seriously and all incidences are recorded, swiftly dealt with and closely monitored.
English as an additional language (EAL) is celebrated at our school and we are very lucky to have an EAL Champion who helps us to monitor and record progress within this group. There is a yearly parent survey, which we use to keep us informed of parent opinions on things like school behaviour, pupil safety and EAL. We also operate an open door policy, which helps staff to ensure any issues are dealt with swiftly and effectively.