British Values...Gospel Values Statement
At St John’s we provide opportunities for our children to discuss, reflect and debate the range of cultural diversity within modern Britain through our rich, creative and challenging curriculum in particular RE, PSHE, English and humanities. We aim to support our children holistically to have reasoned views about moral and ethical issues, to have a strong set of values and principles, to be respectful and tolerant of people of different faiths and beliefs and understand and appreciate the viewpoint of others. We are committed to ensuring that our children are enthusiastic and articulate learners who are confident yet respectful in their approach to others; children who understand the importance of truth, justice and fairness so that when faced with situations within school or within the local community they can make the ‘right choices.’ We aim to nurture our children on their journey through life so they can grow into safe, caring, creative, unique, open-minded and independent individuals who make a positive difference to British society.
The government emphasises that all schools should ensure that they teach pupils about British values. We take every opportunity to promote the fundamental British values of:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
It is important to point out though, that British values as defined by the Government are already at the heart of a Catholic school through its adherence to Gospel Values. This is made clear in the document, ‘Christ at the Centre’written and published initially by the Archdiocese of Birmingham and latterly adopted by the Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales for Catholic Education. This document states that ‘Gospel Values’ are best defined by the Beatitudes.
- Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
- Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.
- Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth.
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.
- Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.
- Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God.
- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Through the promotion of these values, our school aims to ensure pupils:
- Understand the democratic process and how citizens can have a say in decision-making.
- Recognise the advantages of living under the rule of law and how law is essential for a safe society.
- Understand that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary and why it exists.
- Understand the reasons for accountability of institutions and why courts maintain independence.
- Know why freedom of religion protects all faiths, as well as those with no faith.
- Accept that people who hold different religious beliefs should be tolerated and not discriminated against.
- Value the importance of identifying and combatting extremism.
Actively promoting these values means challenging pupils, staff or parents / carers who express opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views. St John’s Catholic Primary School takes opportunities and is committed to promoting these fundamental Gospel and British values in the following ways:
Pupil voice, as well as parent / carer voice, is central to our ethos and plays an essential part in developing school improvement priorities, as evidenced within the School Development Plan. The school is clear in demonstrating how pupils should contribute and co-operate and consider the views and needs of others.
We actively promote and model democracy by:
- Teaching the principle of democracy within the curriculum as well as during assemblies and special days e.g. Magna Carta Project
- Providing the children with a broad knowledge of and promoting respect for public institutions and services e.g. visits to local Council Chambers, visits to Parliament, visits to and from the Police, Fire Service, etc.
- Teaching the children how they can influence decision making through the democratic process e.g. School council (voted for annually by peers), suggestion boxes, developing skills in persuasive language in Literacy, questionnaires and surveys, aiding in recruitment of new staff.
- Encouraging children to become involved in the decision making processes and ensuring that they are listened to in school e.g. school council, pupil parliament, open door policy for leadership, consultation groups (PE/Art councils), liaison between staff and pupils
- Encouraging the children to write for a purpose, for example, to the Headteacher to request additional funding for resources, to local politicians about local issues, to the Prime Minister on issues of social justice.
- Modeling how perceived injustice can be peacefully challenged by teaching about inspirational figures e.g. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Dalai Lama, Elizabeth Fry, Malala Yousafzai
Rule of law
Our pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws: that they govern and protect us, that we have a responsibility to uphold them and the consequences when laws are broken. Our Code of Conduct was devised collaboratively by all stakeholders within the school community and provides clear expectations for a safe, respectful and orderly community. Staff consistently reinforce high expectations of pupils; the behaviour management policy is understood by all and linked to Restorative Approaches, it allows children to explore the consequences of their actions and make the right choices.
We actively promote and model the rule of law by:
- Ensuring school rules are clear and fair, and are based on the British value of forgiveness (Restorative Approaches)
- Helping children to distinguish right from wrong; older children are trained Peer Mediators who help to support younger children during break and lunch-times.
- Promoting respect for the law and the basis on which it is made e.g. through visitors such as police and county councilors into school
- Helping children to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals e.g. through our RE and PSHE curriculums and through focus weeks and visitors
- Implementing a strong anti-bullying culture, taking part in National anti-bullying campaigns as well as pupil lead awareness focus weeks e.g. Keep the Peace week
- Strong anti-racism message shared with the children through RE / PSHE curriculums.
- Observing ‘silences’ to honour the dead on Armistice Day; using British Legion resources to educate the children as to the sacrifices made by others to guard their freedom.
Within school, everyone is actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. All staff and pupils use the Restorative Approaches Key Questions, so pupils are encouraged to discuss good choices, and both positive and negatives consequences attached to choices. The pupils have access to a 1:1 Learning Mentor to talk about their learning and strategies they feel will help them overcome any barriers to learning identified. Children are encouraged to have pride in their own and others achievements.
We actively promote and model individual liberty by:
- Supporting pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence through our ethos and our way of treating people. Our fund-raising and themed weeks such as ‘Keep the Peace’ / Mental Health Awareness weeks are evidence of our children's commitment to helping others.
- Making every effort to meet the needs of all of the children, by providing equality of opportunity and by listening to and understanding the needs of all of the children.
- Encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour as well as knowing their rights e.g. through linking rights with responsibilities and by having a fair and consistent behaviour management policy
- Challenging stereotypes e.g. visitors into school, disability awareness, anti-bullying week. We are an inclusive school and have children with different needs who are welcomed into our community by the other children.
- Providing pupils with key roles and responsibilities from the earliest age- monitors, Play Leaders, Peer Mediators etc.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
At St John’s, our Catholic values of respect and tolerance permeate all areas of school life. This engenders a climate within which pupils feel safe and secure and facilitates the fulfillment of potential.
There is an understanding that everyone, ‘adults and children’, are respected and have the right to have their views listened to.
Staff demonstrate respect to everyone with whom they come into contact; they consistently model and promote the behaviours and attitudes that are the foundation of positive relationships. The strong school ethos encourages everyone to consider and support each other and to celebrate the worth and individuality of every member of the school community.
We actively promote and model respect and tolerance by:
- Promoting respect for individual differences e.g. through assemblies and masses, the RE curriculum (‘Come and See’ which teaches other faiths in a progressive manner from EYFS through to Year 6), the PSHE curriculum, the Sports curriculum
- Celebrating the diversity of cultures by helping the children to acquire an understanding of and respect for their own and other cultures and ways of life e.g. through Geography, MFL, Arts projects, Religious Education and Multicultural awareness
- Organising visits to places of worship and important religious/cultural icons e.g. Church, Cathedral, visits to the local Synagogue / Mosque
- Openly discuss and celebrate the differences between people such as differences of faith, ethnicity, disability, and also those marginalised in society, such as the homeless.