Promoting British Values at Hope High School
The Department for Education state that there is a 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 by the Prime Minister in 2014. School has built links with Lancashire Police regarding this issue and pupils will all access advice sessions regarding this and Diversity and hate crime. At Hope High School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
Democracy is a key part of life at Hope High School; pupils know that the staff at the school will listen to their concerns and act upon them if necessary. The school is developing the practice of Socrates debates, teaching our pupils how to listen to others and respect their opinions; pupils score and lose points according to their debating techniques.
Each class at the school democratically elects their representative on the School Council and they meet regularly to discuss school issues. All staff at the school fully support the culture of approachable and positive communication with pupils.
The Rule of Law
Hope High School consistently reinforces the importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the classroom, the school or the country. Pupils abide by 5 classroom rules that determine how many points they earn in each lesson and a further 5 points for how they perform academically in each lesson. Staff at the school are therefore constantly reminding the pupils of their awareness of the need for our school to be a safe and ordered environment. Our pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, through the point earning system we have in place; discussion takes place at the end of every lesson to focus on each individual’s acceptance of the rules of the classroom, which in turn provides a basis for acceptance of rules and laws outside the school environment.
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 our pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely; examples of this can be clearly seen in our online safety and Citizenship lessons.
Our pupils are given the freedom to make choices; our Pastoral Team and other staff consistently remind pupils to ‘own their own behaviour’ as we help prepare them for life outside, and after school.
Hope High School encourage that all members of our community respect each other; a weekly Praise Assembly takes place on Fridays, where staff and peers recognise the achievements of our pupils and publicly celebrate them.
When conflict occurs, there is a well-established system of Restorative Practice that is embedded into the way of life at Hope High School. The pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small. The core value of Respect at Hope High School underpins our work every day both in and out of the classroom.
Tolerance of Those With Different Faiths And Beliefs
Our core value of Respect ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs. Hope High School enhances pupils understanding of different faiths and beliefs through religious education delivered in Personal Development lessons, along with Citizenship and P.S.H.E. Through this our pupils gain an enhanced understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society.
Learning for life.
Citizenship is to be delivered in Personal Development lessons at Hope High School, along with careers guidance and PSHE. In addition to the lesson based delivery, we will also be having a whole school focus each half term that covers aspects of citizenship, through informal classroom debate, writing competitions and formal debates using the Socrates point scoring system. Citizenship education is an ideal tool for exploring British Values, paying heed to the Prevent strategy that informs our pupils of anti-extremist concerns (a legal requirement since July 1st 2015). School has built links with Lancashire Police regarding this issue and pupils will all access advice sessions regarding this and Diversity and hate crime. Citizenship education is also important because it builds character and develops the soft skills that employers are crying out for, such as communication, initiative, social interaction and teamwork.
But citizenship education is more than that.
Democracies need active, informed and responsible citizens; citizens who are willing and able to take responsibility for themselves and their communities and contribute to the political process.
Democracies depend upon citizens who, among other things, are:
- aware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens;
- informed about the social and political world;
- concerned about the welfare of others;
- articulate in their opinions and arguments;
- capable of having an influence on the world;
- active in their communities;
- responsible in how they act as citizens.
These thought processes in our pupils need to be nurtured. While a certain amount of citizenship may be picked up through ordinary experience in the home or at work, it can never in itself be sufficient to equip citizens for the sort of active role required of them in today’s complex and diverse society.
If citizens are to become genuinely involved in public life and affairs, a more explicit approach to citizenship education is required. This approach should be:
- Inclusive: An entitlement for all young people regardless of their ability or background;
- Pervasive: Not limited to schools but an integral part of all education for young people;
- Lifelong: Continuing throughout life.
Citizenship issues are:
- real: actually affect people’s lives;
- topical: current today;
- sometimes sensitive: can affect people at a personal level, especially when family or friends are involved;
- often controversial: people disagree and hold strong opinions about them;
- ultimately moral: relate to what people think is right or wrong, good or bad, important or unimportant in society.