British Values at Gamlingay Village College
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 have been reiterated by the Prime Minister during this academic year. As a school we work closely with our community and recognise our role in preparing our pupils to play an active part in it. We believe that our pupils should have the opportunity to contribute towards their community, both locally and wider afield, it in a way that benefits them as individuals as well as the community itself.
Democracy exists in many different forms within our schools. At Gamlingay Village College, our pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our school council, pupil forums, pupil questionnaires, meetings with head teacher and through being either a Values or Subject Ambassador or joining the BCUS Youth Parliament. Our school behaviour and values policies involve rewards and sanctions put forward by our pupils which they then support and adhere to in their daily school life. We also have Young Leaders who are Year 7 pupils who work with Gamlingay First School organising activities and events for their pupils to take part in.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school collective gatherings. Pupils are taught the values and reasons behind laws; how they govern and protect us; the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences that occur when laws are broken. They learn to understand the law-making process and the roles of those involved at local and national levels. Visits from local councillors and authorities such as the Police are a regular part of our formal and informal curriculum and help reinforce this message.
Within our school, our 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 the provision of this environment and by providing an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised and guided in how to exercise these safely, for example through our teaching on E-Safety, relationships education, drugs and alcohol education, etc, all of which are dealt with in PSHCE and lessons. Pupils are further empowered through having a school council and being able to take part in pupil forums which link directly to the senior leadership team or governors. Whether it is through choice of challenge, or how they participate in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
The Gamlingay Village College Behaviour Policy revolves around core values such as honesty and respect, and pupils have been part of discussions about what these mean and how they are shown and recognised. Respect is one of our values taught explicitly within lessons and through assemblies and is shared with our pupils’ homes and families through newsletters and website information. This is further highlighted in our work with our partnership schools. Adults around the school promote respect for others as do older children who have suitable, age related, tasks and responsibilities and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour. We further develop respect by ensuring there are many visits, trips and opportunities for our pupils to learn all about other environments, faiths, creeds and cultures, not just in this country, but from around the world.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. This is very important in Gamlingay and surrounding villages which have a very particular demographic. With a view to expanding the knowledge, understanding and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs, the school has undertaken to widen and challenge thinking through its RE curriculum, PSHCE, Literature and values education which it is beginning to incorporate into the life of the school. Discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have taken place and have been supported by learning in RE and PSHCE.
Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes. This takes many different forms, including: festivals and celebrations, dress and fashion, worship, food, art and other cultural features.