At St John’s Highbury Vale C of E Primary School, we develop and promote British Values throughout our school and within our curriculum.
A key part of our plan for education is to ensure children become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and leave school fully prepared for life in modern Britain.
To do this our children will develop:
As a Church of England School, we base our curriculum, teaching and learning on our school vision and values. Having these as a basis for all we do, enables the children to see why they are important to us, how they help us to be the people we are today, and encourage us to learn, grow and develop a strong learning culture with children who are motivated, engaged and reflective in all aspects of learning. These are Friendship, Love, Courage, Wisdom, Forgiveness and Respect.
Our school is committed to providing a safe, secure and stimulating environment. We value and promote shared personal achievement, high standards and respect for the individual. We believe that by working together we build understanding of one another and develop the self-esteem of every individual.
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at St John’s. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions and customs in the course of the year; for example, Harvest Festival during the Autumn term and trips to the pantomime at Christmas. We also value and celebrate national focusses, recent examples being; Macmillan Coffee Morning, World Book Day, Luna New Year and Safer Internet Day, with many more opportunities planned in throughout the year to collaborate with the wider community and world e.g. Children In Need.
Further to this, children learn about being part of Britain from different perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Geographically: Our rivers, coasts and seaside holiday topics ensure that children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
•its coasts, rivers and mountains
•where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
Historically: Key moments in British history are studied in the topics such as ‘London’s Burning’ and significant historical figures.
The examples below are an indication of where we can find evidence to show that British Values are an intrinsic part of school life at St John’s C of E Primary School.
An obvious example of Democracy in action at our school is through our House Captains and our School Council. The election of the House Captains and School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot papers etc. House Captains are made up of eight Year 6 pupils, two from each of our four team colours. These children work closely with the school council to get feedback from the whole school on certain issues and then put the feedback into action. The School Council is made up of two representatives from Years 2-5, the School Council meets regularly with the House Captains to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The House Captains and School council has its own budget and is able to effect change within the school; in the past, they have hosted fundraising activities and helped to provide equipment for our school grounds as selected by the children. They have helped enforce the School Streets initiative in Conewood Street, promoted recycling across the school, set up lunch time games club and put in place a playtime rota that is fair for all, including a variety of games to be played which interest all children.
Children in Reception class vote for the book that is being read at story time. Each day, children can vote for their favourite story by placing a Duplo block for their chosen story. This encourages independence and introduces the ideas of fairness, choices and voting.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
Parents’ opinions are welcomed at St John’s Highbury Vale Primary through methods such as questionnaires, surveys at parents evenings and opportunities to comment on whole school matters e.g. After school provision, charities we choose to support annually and ways in which we can support the local community.
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as during collective worship and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses the school rules and class routines, principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment, these rules are displayed in each class along with the Golden Rules of the school. These rules play a fundamental role in our behaviour sanctions and rewards and are linked to our Going for Gold behaviour chart and the Golden Book.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves, and the consequences when laws are broken. These values are reinforced in different ways:
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely; for example:
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our PSHE JIGSAW lessons. We use the JIGSAW resource across the whole school which also links tour collective worship sessions.
Collective worship is used to both explore and support the school’s values. By teaching the children how to manage and understand emotions they will be motivated and equipped to:
Unicef Rights Respecting Schools
In 2022, we also began the journey to gain the Rights Respecting School Award here at St John’s. In Right’s Respecting Schools children’s rights are promoted and realised, adults and children within the school community work together towards this goal together. There are four key areas of impact for children as a Rights Respecting school; well-being, participation, relationships and self-esteem.
Last term, we received the Bronze award for the school, ensuring the whole school community knows what is involved in the award and agreeing to be committed to embarking on the UNICEF UK Rights Respecting journey. Our lead teachers have received training and have devised a plan to support the work needed to move from the Bronze to the Silver award.
We have high expectations of achievement and behaviour. Children and staff are polite and kind. We believe everyone has their own special gifts and we are expected to use them.
We listen and respect each other. We teach the children that conflict will be dealt with calmly and fairly. All members of the school family are valued equally. We celebrate each other’s achievements, whether that be in or out of school, through our weekly Celebration Assemblies.
Teachers deliver exciting, interesting, challenging and innovative lessons where everybody is expected to do their best and respect others.
When our older children are given key roles and responsibilities to work alongside younger children this helps to promote mutual respect across the age phases. E.g. Reading buddies and Playground Buddies
St John’s Highbury Vale are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Tolerance, politeness and mutual respect are at the heart of our ethos and R.E curriculum.
Our central aim of ‘Every Child, Every Opportunity, Every Day’, drives us towards ensuring that our pupils are able to live and work alongside people from all backgrounds and cultures, therefore preparing them for their future after St John’s in the wider world. This will be particularly necessary in a future, where due to technological advances, will make the ‘world a smaller place.’
Our pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone and to everything, whatever differences we may have. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are encouraged to treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at St John’s enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
Children are encouraged to share their own experiences when celebrating their own faith. Daily worship reflects and teaches the children tolerance for different faiths and beliefs. We have our ‘St John’s Prayer’, which the children collaborated on and which encompasses a shared belief and value.
Activities within school support both children and adults of different or no faith, the children are taught respect and tolerance of these groups and the opinions of the groups are taken into account with all activities.
Whilst instances contrary to our values are relatively rare, each is treated seriously in line with our policies and expectations.