Promoting British Values at St. Augustine’s Catholic Academy
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 in 2014. At St. Augustine’s Catholic Academy these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
At the start of each academic year, the children vote to select members of the Pupil Leadership Team which comprises Head Boy and Head Girl and their deputies, Prefects and school councillors. This is after those pupils standing for election have had a chance to make a speech to the children during a special ‘pre-election assembly’. Two children from each year group are voted by their peers to form the School Council. The School Council meets regularly to discuss ideas and issues on a given agenda. Each year the School Council writes its own action plan and is given money from the school’s budget for improvement; this year, the children have surveyed fellow pupils to explore how we can improve our wet break-times and after school club provision. Children have a say in many matters and vote to decide the annual reward for the class with the highest attendance. The children have been involved in giving their thoughts concerning the outside learning environment and have also written the child friendly anti-bullying and e-safety policies.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is consistently reinforced at St. Augustine’s Catholic Academy. From entry into the Nursery, our children are taught the rules of the academy, our five principles stemming from our mission statement to ‘Love one another’. These five principles help to understand that these are necessary to make our school a safe and happy place for all.
They consist of:
- Be Safe
- Be Polite
- Be Respectful
- Be Kind
- Be your Best.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from, and to external agencies such as the Police, PCSO’s, Police Cadet Scheme, Crucial Crew and Fire Service help reinforce this message. ‘Rules’, ‘Right are Wrong’ and ‘Laws’ are taught and embedded as part of the academy’s PSHCE scheme of work which is delivered throughout the whole curriculum and academy.
At St Augustine’s we value each and every one of our children as individuals. We are all unique. Pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As an academy, we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make informed choices, through a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices. This could be through choice of challenge, choosing to participate in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities or which golden time activity to choose. Our creative homework projects allow children to partake in activities that interest them and present them in interesting ways. For example, children in Year 6 complete a research project about their chosen Confirmation saint and present their findings in the most creative, individual way possible.
Part of our academy ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘Respect’, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. The school ethos and aims promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and School principles, as well as our behaviour policy. Bullying has been an area whereby the Academy has placed a strong focus and provided children with a variety of assemblies, theatre company visits and workshops to help them to reflect upon and understand the impact of bullying others. This includes all types of bullying, including cyber bullying.
Respect of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
St. Augustine’s is a Catholic Academy. We are proud of our faith and its teachings. Jesus taught us to “Love one another as I have loved you.” Due to this, we have respect for all – regardless of religion or background. All our Religious Education lessons and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of respect for others. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school, this includes inviting parents in to talk and share experiences of their faith with our children.
The core value of respect underpins all that we do at St Augustine’s and teaching clearly communicates the fact that our world is full of people of different religions, races, beliefs, appearances, talents and abilities. Respect for all is continually reiterated through teaching, assemblies and day to day interactions and is accepted as a fundamental fact by all of our children and staff.