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’.
This should happen in the context of a wider Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) provision through which schools should;
- Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
- Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
- Enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
- Further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
- Encourage respect for other people; and
- Encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
At BCCS we see our community as a microcosm of British Society; of mixed ability, socioeconomic status, gender, race and those of different faiths and of no faith. We actively promote British Values through our acts of whole school collective worship, structured tutor time, our House structure and in our curriculum. We also ensure that our broad and balanced curricular and extra-curricular design allows students to explore these values in many different contexts. For example:
Democracy is explored in the curriculum through PSHE schemes of work in Year 8 and the wider context of democracy is studied in History. The school has an active ‘Student Voice’ with students nominating their representatives. Students are also encouraged to take part in the Bristol ‘Big Vote’ to appoint student councillors. We engage in national politics by hosting Hustings for students and by having local MPs visit and speak to the school.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country is consistently reinforced throughout the community. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibility this involves, the consequence when laws are broken and how to distinguish between right and wrong. In the same way, the school’s Rewards and Sanctions policy is applied fairly and without prejudice. Excellent relationships are established with the Police for example through PSHE collapsed days in Year 8.
Within our community, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Our pupils are taught to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely both in the context of school and the law of the land. Of specific relevance is a collapsed day in Year 9 students where students follow an ‘Identity trail’, exploring issues around individual liberty. We check our progress as a community through a student ‘diversity group’ which reports back to the school body, the SLT and Governors. To help safeguard against radicalisation, the school hosts a Radicalisation Conference.
Our community has three Core Values:
These are displayed around the school and taught in collective worship. Our rewards system (house points) are also awarded under these headings. The result is a respect and warmth between all in the community whether adult or student.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Our core value of Courtesy takes us beyond ‘tolerance’ (see above). We seek to understand each other, embrace and celebrate our differences in a culturally rich and diverse school. The school is based on a Christian ethos but we encourage students of all faiths and none through exploring religions and philosophies in REP, through prayer rooms for different faiths and PSHE and Science curricular. In student questionnaires, students’ responses make it clear they feel that all faiths and none have a full and valid part to play in our community and are held in mutual and equal respect.