British Values and SMSC* development
* Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural
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 were reiterated this in 2014 . At Ashbrow School these values are reinforced regularly in the following ways directly and through daily experiences and interactions with staff, parents and pupils and through as many aspects of the curriculum as possible.
What are ‘fundamental British values’?
Schools are required to provide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of their pupils. As part of this requirement, we are expected to actively promote fundamental British values.
The government defines these as:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
What does this mean for my child?
At Ashbrow our efforts to promote fundamental British values are designed to prepare children for life in modern Britain.
Ultimately, we aim to help pupils understand:
- The importance of combatting discrimination
- How we can influence decision-making by taking part in democratic processes like voting and petitioning
- Our freedom under British law to choose different faiths and beliefs
- That the law is there to keep us safe
What does this look like in school?
Children also engage with the values through the curriculum, in ways that are suitable for their age and context. For example, in some subjects there are opportunities to think about traditions from different cultures and religions.
Extra-curricular activities such as games teach children about the importance of rules. Pupil votes, questionnaires and councils are other ways that your children can have their voices heard and learn about democracy.
Our duty to actively promote fundamental British values means that we always present political views to children in a balanced way. We are also responsible for challenging prejudiced or extreme opinions and behaviour.
As part of this responsibility, we have put measures in place to protect children from exposure to extremist views. Please feel free to contact the school if you would like more information about this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my child still be able to express his/her faith at school?
Absolutely. One of the fundamental values is respect and tolerance of people with different faiths, and we teach our children that British law protects their freedom to hold their own beliefs.
Any prejudice or discrimination towards pupils on the basis of their faith goes against the fundamental British values and will not be tolerated by the school.
How will this affect my child’s lessons?
The curriculum provides lots of opportunities to look at fundamental British values. Your child will already have some experience of this in lessons such as religious education (RE) and personal, social and health education (PSHE).
In each subject, our teachers will look out for these opportunities and encourage children to think about how the values link into the topics they are studying.
Will there be major changes to the school’s ethos?
Ashbrow’s ethos already includes many aspects of the government’s fundamental British values. For example, we expect our children to follow the school rules and show respect and kindness to one another. Promoting fundamental British values will reinforce, not change, our current ethos.
At the beginning of the school year all classes in school decide on a set of class rules/ a Code of Conduct. These are displayed in all classrooms and are regularly referred to throughout the school year.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class circle time and to focus on whole school projects. The children who represent classes on our school council were nominated and voted for by pupils.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country are consistently reinforced throughout the school day, when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reason behind the laws that govern and protect us, the responsibility that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
Within school pupils are actively encouraged to make choices knowing they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make safe choices through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms for example through assemblies, PSHE and e-safety lessons.
Mutual respect is at the heart of all our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own right and the rights of others. All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect. Staff are expected to be good role models at all times.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
We are extremely lucky at Ashbrow in that the school community has a wide range of diversity, which we celebrate in many different ways. Assemblies and the curriculum are planned to address this issue directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our PSHE and RE teaching reinforces this. Children experience virtual visits of places of worship that are important to different faiths. Another key way that we show tolerance of others is reflected in how the children work and play positively with each other.
As a school we actively promote the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC) of our pupils. This includes the promotion of British Values.
This is central to our aims, values and ethos of the school and takes place throughout the school day including during curriculum sessions, promotion through the learning environment, assemblies, playtimes and interactions between people in school.
SMSC in school aims to promote these through:
- Learning how to apply these values in life
- Understanding the difference between right and wrong
- Becoming lawful citizens
- Developing skills so that pupils can contribute fully to the British way of life
- Understanding and respecting the range of different cultures in / beyond school
At Ashbrow we will actively challenge pupils, parents or staff expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including extremist views.
The Prevent Strategy
What is the Prevent strategy?
Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes.The Prevent strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent Islamist groups and other causes.
How does the Prevent strategy apply to schools?
From July 2015 all schools (as well as other organisations) have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism.This means we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views the same way we protect them from drugs or gang violence.
Importantly, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.
What does this mean in practice?
At Ashbrow many of the things we already do to help children become positive, happy members of society also contribute to the Prevent strategy.These include:
- Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity
- Challenging prejudices and racist comments
- Developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity
- Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils, as well as British values such as democracy
At Ashbrow School we also protect children from the risk of radicalisation, for example by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist and terrorist material, or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Prevent relate to British values?
Schools have been required to promote British values since 2014, and this will continue to be part of our response to the Prevent strategy.
British values include:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty and mutual respect
- Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
Isn’t my child too young to learn about extremism?
The Prevent strategy is not just about discussing extremism itself, which may not be appropriate for younger children. It is also about teaching children values such as tolerance and mutual respect.
The school will make sure any discussions are suitable for the age and maturity of the children involved.
Is extremism really a risk in our area?
Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and misogynistic extremism. Some of these may be a bigger threat in our area than others.
We will give children the skills to protect them from any extremist views they may encounter, now or later in their lives.