At St. Matthew’s Catholic Primary School we recognise not only the importance of allowing students to flourish academically, but we also embrace our wider role in preparing them for their adult life beyond the formal examined curriculum. Part of our role in that preparation is ensuring that we promote and reinforce British values to our students.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and considered them to be:
- Rule of Law
- Individual Liberty
- Mutual Respect
- Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs.
At St. Matthew’s Catholic Primary School these values are reinforced in a pervasive manner and permeate the school community.
The examples that follow are an indication of some of the many ways we seek to embed British values at St. Matthew’s Catholic Primary School and should be seen as an indication of our approach rather than an exhaustive list.
At St. Matthew’s Catholic Primary School the principle of democracy is consistently reinforced, with the democratic process being employed for important decisions within the school community and beyond, for instance the nomination and election of students to the School Council. The principle of democracy is explored in History and Religious Education as well as through assemblies. Every year, our school councillors are taken to the Houses of Pariliament in London to help them to develop a key understanding of fundamental British values – one of which of course is democracy.
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 assemblies. Students are taught the values and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message. The children are well aware of the laws in school and class and work with the teacher to formulate these.
Within St. Matthew’s Catholic Primary School students are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for students to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and receive advice about how to exercise these safely, for example through our exploration of E-Safety.
Respect is at the core of our school ethos and is modelled by students and staff alike. The school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments as well as extra-curricular activities such as sport.
In line with our commitment to democracy students at St. Matthew’s Catholic Primary School are always able to voice their opinions and we foster an environment where students feel safe to disagree with each other. Our code of conduct promotes the values of respect and responsibility. The school council also provides the students with an arena where they can bring up and discuss any issues that may undermine the school ethos.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
This is achieved through equipping students with the ability to understand their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity within the school community. All students across the school learn about those of different faiths and beliefs as part of the Come and See RE curriculum. Supporting these sessions and the school’s wider curriculum are trips to different places of worship where our students gain valuable experience of other religions/cultures first hand. This is even extended to special food ‘theme’ days such as the Chinese New Year where the children enjoy Chinese food and learn about the Chinese culture.
Should you feel that the school is not meeting this requirement, you should contact the school office and request to express your concerns with the headteacher. Likewise, if you feel that anyone working at the school is undermining these values you should report this to the headteacher.