British Values are a key part of SMSC and vital in order to enable children to grow up to be positive, engaged and proactive citizens.
The government defines British Values as: democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance* of those with different faiths and beliefs. (* Note: at St John’s we dislike this wording so prefer to use ‘appreciate’). These values were first set out by the government in 2011 in the ‘Prevent’ strategy and are central in British education today.
At St John’s these values, as well as our school living and learning values, form the foundation of what we do.
At St John’s we take democracy very seriously using formal balloting to vote for our Junior Leadership Team representatives. In the last general election, we participated in the TES Mock Election. Pupil voice plays a big part in life at St John’s. Every term, we ask the children about their favourite topics and subjects and how we can make their learning experiences better. We also encourage them to participate in more formal methods of sharing their opinions like questionnaires and surveys. Our JLT also ask their peers for their views on issues week to week.
Rule of law:
An understanding of rules and laws is vital as the children become successful citizens of the world. At St John’s we start with a clear understanding of school rules and consequences and then, as the children get older, we develop their understanding of more formal laws with visits from local magistrates and looking at how we work together to improve our society.
At St John’s we put a lot of time into ensuring that the children have a healthy understanding of their safety and freedom both physically and online. We endeavour to instil in them a respect for the liberty of others but also a knowledge of how to stay safe themselves. We also challenge the children to think freely – not being led by the opinions of those around them but enquiring further in to the ‘hows and ‘whys of life. By teaching them these things, our hope is that we will nurture children who think and behave safely and freely, always questioning things around them.
Mutual respect and appreciation of those with different faiths and beliefs:
At St John’s we love celebrating and learning about different cultures, faiths and beliefs! Every term we have at least one school-wide celebration of a special day/festival/celebration linked to a community we have ties with. The children (and staff) greatly enjoy these days, which are vibrant, hands on and full of rich learning opportunities. We also value visiting different places of worship and welcoming in visitors from different faiths and beliefs to help up to better understand how they worship and how their beliefs affect their lifestyle.