All schools must “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 restated them in 2014 as a responsibility for all schools to follow and promote. At Highfield Hall these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised with class representatives. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely contribute to change within the school. The school council members for each class are chosen by their peers.
We have a House system and all children and staff in a House vote annually for their House Captain and Vice Captain.
Each month the children nominate and vote for someone in their class to receive the pupil of the month award.
Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school.
We have plans for September 2016 to begin work towards becoming a UNICEF Rights Respecting school, this will involve the children deciding upon their class charter and the rights associated with this. All children will contribute to the drawing up of the charter.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws and rules, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced on a daily basis, as well as when dealing with behaviour issues and through school assemblies. Pupils are helped to learn to manage their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws and rules, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws or rules are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. We encourage children to become good citizens and to become as independent as possible. Some of our pupils will be able to take on responsibilities at school and will learn that with certain rights comes a level of responsibility. We support local charities and national campaigns such as Comic Relief, Children in Need, Action for Children and disaster appeals when people in other parts of the world are in need.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. We take part in activities with other schools and Chesterfield College and our school teams compete in a variety of competitive sports in their community in this way we ensure that our children mix with as wide a group of people as possible in a safe and controlled way.
Highfield Hall is situated in an area which is largely white and British in culture, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
At Highfield Hall we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.