The Prevent Strategy, released in 2011 to combat extremism in the UK, defined “British values” as the promotion of “democracy, rule of law, equality of opportunity, freedom of speech and the rights of all men and women to live free from persecution of any kind”.
The Department for Education has released advice on what schools and academies should be doing to ensure that they are effectively promoting British values as part of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of pupils. At Esher Church School we prepare our children for their life beyond primary school, recognising the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of Great Britain. The promotion of British Values is woven in to our curriculum via our engaging Big Enquiry topics, our Picture News assemblies our Behaviour Policy and our links with the community.
Democracy: Our pupils have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Parliament and pupil questionnaires. The elections of School Parliament representatives are based solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to voice their views about the school.
The Rule of Law: The importance of laws and rules, whether they are those that govern the class, school or the country are consistently reinforced during everyday life at Esher Church School with our Ready, Respectful, Safe rules. Our children are taught the value and reasons behind rules, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when rules are broken.
Individual Liberty: At school children are actively encouraged to make choices in a safe environment. They are encouraged to understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to use these safely and respectfully particularly within PSHCE and E-safety lessons. Whether it is through choice of challenge; of how they record; or of participation in our numerous extra-curricular activities; our pupils are given the freedom to make confident choices.
Mutual Respect: Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on themselves and those around them from a very early age. We expect all members of our School to treat each other with dignity and respect. Our children learn that we live in a country which is full of diversity. They are taught to respect and celebrate all differences.
Tolerance of those with different Faiths: Our curriculum and assemblies highlight the similarities and differences between cultures around the world. Our RE lessons actively promote diversity, embrace different faiths and beliefs and we reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. The children visit places of worship for different faiths and we welcome visits to the school from clergy from the Anglican Churches that we serve as well as those representing other faiths.
Our aim is that all our children have a wonderful experience throughout their time at Esher Church School – to know that they are safe, loved, respected and valued.