In June 2014 David Cameron spoke about the important role of British values in our education system. How well schools promote such values are now part of the Ofsted inspection process.
The promotion of British values is not something new to our curriculum at Midfield. Such values are at the core of all we do whether it be through our assemblies, our RE curriculum, our personal, social, health and citizenship lessons or through other areas of the curriculum. The term British values can be somewhat misleading as these values are integral to so many countries across the world.
Below are some examples of how British values are promoted in our school curriculum.
Being Part of Britain
Our curriculum reflects, celebrates and teaches children about diversity. For example, in RE children learn about the four main religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. They compare and contrast marriage customs and naming ceremony customs, for example, and have opportunities to visit different places of worship.
Throughout the year we celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms this means we celebrate events such as Christmas, Harvest, Mothering Sunday, Remembrance Day. We have a trip to the theatre at Christmas and a Christmas pantomime in school. In additon, we always take part in key British events such as the Olympics in 2012 and the Diamond Jubilee in 2013. For such events we hold parades, tea parties, concerts and do additional curriculum classroom work about how such events relate to being British.
In Geography children learn about the traditional seaside town of Scarborough, the historical fishing village of Robin Hood's Bay and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. They also learn about Britain's place in Europe as well as other aspects of its rich heritage.
In History children learn about British key figures such as Guy Fawkes, George Stevenson, William the Conqueror, Queen Elizabeth 1, Henry V111, Queen Victoria, Dr Barnardo, Sir Winston Churchill and Mary Seacole. One of our themes in History is a study of childhood in different historical periods and how key historical events have impacted on British lives today (The Factories and Education Acts in our Victorian topic, The Battle of Britain in our WW2 topic, The Reformation in The Tudors for example).
The annual election and work of our school council reflects British democracy. Our school council is very proactive in having its voice heard. Recent school council activities have included improving play facilities on the school playground, a review of school dinners and healthy living.
In addition, the school council organises our charity work throughout the year. This includes fun days for Children In Need and Comic Relief. This fostering of a commitment to charities is another way in which we teach a sense of Britishness.
We have organised visits to parliament for some of our older pupils.
Rules and Laws
Children are taught the importance of rules and laws and how the ones in school reflect those in our country. Children are taught the reasons behind rules and that they are there to keep us safe and happy. The pupils decided on the school Behaviour Code and positive behaviour reinforcements are operated throughout the school. Visits from authority figures in society such as the fire brigade, the local community police officers, doctors, dentists, nurses and governors demonstrate to children how rules and laws are an integral part of a safe and happy Britain.
Alongside rules and laws we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express our views and beliefs as an integral part of what it is to be British. Children may choose to take part in our very wide range of extra-curricular activities. They have a very broad choice of lunchtime play areas and activities. They are involved in their own learning and respond to their learning by feedback systems and self- review of marking. They are taught how to use their choices and freedoms safely though our curriculum in areas such as e-safety, anti-bullying, sex and relationship education and drugs awareness education.
Mutual respect and tolerance
Midfield is a wonderfully culturally diverse school with a highly regarded inclusive ethos and practice. Multi-culturalism is on the increase and we celebrate this. Our children are taught and know how to show respect to everyone no matter what our differences may be. We celebrate this diversity in our curriculum. Examples include our celebrations of different religious festivals throughout the year, the participation of all our children, including those with disability, in all our curriculum activities and the regular staff training we undertake to ensure this inclusive practice remains outstanding.
Behaviours which are contrary to these British values are actively challenged, whether they come from children, parents or staff. Such instances are extremely rare in school and we are proud of the reputation we have in our local community.
During the summer term to celebrate the Queen's Birthday, Midfield organised "Queens Week" where each class took a decade of her life and studied the social culture, the work the royal family undertook and the general concensus and feeling towards the monarchy during that particular decade. A democratic vote was held towards the later part of the week to establish whether Midfield felt the Monarchy were still in favour. The results of which found the Queen to be highly important and a good role model for those of us living under her rule. The week ended with an English sports morning followed by a street party in the afternoon which was open to parents and friends of Midfield. It was an exciting week and fun was had by all!
What's to come...
We are looking forward to some exciting debates later this year following BREXIT. It will be interesting to see what the children believe this means for them and their future. We will keep you updated........