In November 2014, the DfE published advice to schools stating clearly the requirement on schools to actively promote the fundamental British Values of:
- the rule of law;
- mutual respect;
- tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Here at Ormiston Shelfield Community Academy, this promotion of the key values detailed above has been an integral part of our work over very many years. We are part of a community which is ethnically, religiously, socially and academically diverse. We celebrate this diversity and recognise it as enriching and a real strength of our academy.
Within our academy, members of staff have a strong sense of the values we need to promote. All ensure that they:
- enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England & Wales;
- encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
- enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
- further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
- encourage respect for other people;
- encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England & Wales.
This is achieved via the formal curriculum but also being extremely conscious of all of our interactions with one another. Our school polices and code of conduct / behaviour policy have at their core this need to promote, and use as a touchstone, these basic principles.
Via our PSHE provision we ensure that our young people develop:
- an understanding of how citizens can influence decision making through the democratic process;
- an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety,
- an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;
- an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
- an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour,
- an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination.
In addition to the PSHE curriculum, these matters / issues are addressed via:
- the assembly programme;
- the Student council, Student Leaders process;
- School Behaviour policy / code of conduct expectations;
- enrichment activities e.g. trips, visits and outside speakers who visit school;
- exploration of subject matter in a range of different subjects e.g. English Literature, History, Science – indeed there is scope for such exploration across all subject areas.
We ensure we evaluate the impact of our focus on such issues by using:
- data on racist incidents;
- data on bullying;
- data on exclusions / sanctions for unacceptable behaviour;
- data on positive achievements / Vivo Miles;
- Rewards and Recognition Ceremonies.
We also are mindful of our need to safeguard and pick up on potential issues at an early stage. All members of staff have had recent safeguarding training and key members of staff have engaged in police led ‘Prevent’ training, empowering them to know what signs to look for should a young person be engaged in ‘radical’ action of any nature or experiencing radicalisation.
Our attendance monitoring system and engagement with parents is key to ensuring excellent communication, excellent partnership, excellent support and excellent young adults who have a real sense of self-worth, who are discerning and appreciate how essential it is to be empathetic yet clear about right and wrong.