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British Values and Cultural Capital

British Values and Cultural Capital

St Mary's prepares pupils positively for life in modern Britain and promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.

Our school reflects British values in all that it does. We encourage our children to be creative, unique, open-minded and independent individuals, respectful of themselves and of others in our school, our local community and the wider world. We aim to nurture our children on their journey through life so they can grow into safe, caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who make a positive difference to British Society and to the wider world.

At St. Mary’s R.C First School we aim to ensure that our values align closely with British values and through these our pupils will become productive citizens of modern Britain. These values are threaded throughout school life and evident in pupils’ behaviour in all areas.

What are British Values?

The government have asked schools to explain how they promote British values. It, and other institutions, have attributed specific values as being British, and these fall into the following broad areas:

  • Democracy
  • The Rule of Law
  • Individual Liberty
  • Tolerance & Respect

We seek to promote British values in our policies and practice here at St. Mary’s RC First School. Our activities and the way we manage learning and behaviour, clearly reflect British values. We promote these values in the following ways:

Examples of British Values throughout school

  • How do we promote Democracy?
    • Teach pupils how they can influence decision-making through the democratic process – e.g. through the work of our School Council.
    • Encourage pupils to become involved in decision-making processes and ensure they are listened to in school – again through the work of the School Council.
    • Help pupils to respectfully express their views e.g. through English lessons and opportunities to present work and opinions.
    • Ensure school rules and expectations are clear and fair e.g. by discussing these with pupils and establishing classroom rules with the pupils themselves.
    • Help pupils to respect the law and the basis on which it is made e.g. by showing how rules help everyone to interact in an orderly and fair manner and protect the vulnerable in society.
    • Include visits from the police in the curriculum e.g. have sessions with the Community Police Officers, visits from the Fire Service. Develop approaches focused on fairness and justice to resolve conflicts e.g. as part of sanctions in our approach to behaviour.
    • Support pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence e.g. through all areas of teaching and learning in school.
    • Challenge stereotypes e.g. through Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) and Collective Worship and within subjects.
    • Promote respect for individual differences in all areas of learning and interaction.
    • Challenge prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour e.g. through discussion and use of illustrative materials as well as our approach to behaviour in school.
    • Develop critical personal thinking skills throughout our curricular work.
    • Discuss differences between people, such as differences of family situations, such as looked-after children or young carers e.g. through our PSHE and broader curricular work and through visitors to school sharing their experiences.
    • Organise visits to places of worship e.g. visits to the local churches and other diverse places of worship, as appropriate to the curriculum.
    • Help pupils to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, their own and other cultures and ways of life e.g. through our Religious Education curriculum and PSHE.
  • How do we promote Respect and Tolerance?
    • Implement a strong anti-bullying culture – as enshrined in our policies for Anti-Bullying and Behaviour.
    • Encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour, as well as knowing their rights e.g. through all of their interaction with adults and each other in school, following ‘Statements to Live By ‘programme.
  • How do we promote Individual Liberty?
    • Ensure School Rules are displayed in classrooms and in the school hall and discussed regularly
    • Teach pupils aspects of both civil and criminal law and discuss how this might differ from some religious laws.
    • Help pupils to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals
    • Help pupils to distinguish right from wrong e.g. during everyday interactions and discussions of stories, fables and other literary materials.
  • How do we promote the Rule of Law?
    • Model how perceived injustice can be peacefully challenged e.g. through our interactions with pupils and the school’s behaviour system and discussing scenarios in Collective Worship and Circle Time.
    • Hold ‘mock elections’ so pupils learn how to argue and defend points of view e.g. when electing representatives to the School Council for each class and when appointing ‘Buddies’ to work in school.
    • Include in the curriculum information on the advantages and disadvantages of democracy and how it works in Britain – e.g. when considering periods of history where democracy was not as fully developed as it is now.
    • Provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of, and promote respect for public institutions and services through discussing these whenever appropriate in curriculum work.

Cultural Capital

It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement. In participating in our school curriculum we are developing children’s ‘Cultural Capital’ with exciting activities that are increasing the chances of our children having an educational advantage.

In the OFSTED school inspection handbook, Cultural capital it is defined:

“As part of making the judgement about the quality of education, inspectors will consider the extent to which schools are equipping pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life”.

Our understanding of ‘knowledge and cultural capital’ is derived from the following wording in the national curriculum: ‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’