PROMOTING BRITISH VALUES
The DfE have reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. At Bedminster Down School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is widespread within the school. Students engage positively with the realities of life in a democracy, and understand and appreciate the history, heritage and wide ranging cultural influences that underpin our individual and shared experience of life in modern Britain.
Bedminster Down are currently re-establishing the School Council after being placed on hold during the pandemic. The plan will be to meet on a termly basis. The council meetings provide a forum for students to discuss issues relevant to their experience of school life and to engage in projects to improve the learning culture, the school environment and support charity. One of the foci in term 1, will be to see a student poll on extra-curricular clubs, so we can do our best to meet every students needs.
The role of democracy is reinforced each year when students take part in Youth Parliament, which is delivered in PSHE lessons. The school held its own mock election through the Make Your Mark campaign where students throughout the school were then given the opportunity to take part in the largest youth vote in the country. This voting determines what our local Member of Youth Parliament will discuss with MPs in the House of Commons. Prior to voting students discussed the importance of democracy in their PSHE lessons along with other topical issues.
Pupils are also given the opportunity to stand for election to the Bristol City Youth Council and are supported in doing so if required. We have had several pupils successfully gain election to this Council in recent years. We are also a polling station for this election and in PSHE lessons pupils watch each candidate’s video manifesto before casting their votes.
Pupils also play a major role in supporting charitable causes. Over the past few years, pupils have supported Comic Relief / Sport Relief , The Poppy Appeal for the Royal British Legion, The Cluster Munitions Coalition (an International Civil Society campaign working to eradicate cluster munitions and supported local charities such as SARI (Stand Against Racism & Inequality).
The rule of Law
The importance of the rule of law, 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 value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
Students recognise the difference between right and wrong, understand that actions have consequences, and apply this in their own lives by respecting English civil and criminal law. Our resident Police officer regularly delivers lessons in PSHE to reinforce tolerance and respect.
In addition Religious Studies and PSHE respectively deliver activities on ‘crime and punishment’ and ‘drug and alcohol awareness’ in KS3 to reinforce the belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions.
Within school, students are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe 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 and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through E-Safety and PSHE.
Students are given the freedom to make choices whether it is through choice of challenge or participation in extensive extra-curricular clubs and opportunities. They have a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves and others, and the world around them, and participate actively in artistic, sporting or cultural activities.
Students make choices relating to the KS4 and KS5 curriculum that they wish to follow. Students have individual meetings with the school’s Careers Advisor in years 10 & 11.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Human Rights Act and how these link to personal responsibilities are all taught through the PSHE curriculum.
Mutual respect and tolerance
Our approach to school assemblies and behaviour is to have a values led approach. ‘Respect’ is an important value of the school’s code with all members of the school community treating each other with respect. Students have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Students also are mindful of other students within their classes whom are also demonstrating such values. Mutual respect is an integrated part of classroom behaviour, as well as our whole school approach to behaviour.
Through Humanities lessons students are reflective about their own beliefs and perspectives on life, and the extent to which they are the same as/different to others’ faith, feelings and values. Students
are encouraged to show an interest in investigating and offering reasoned views about moral and ethical issues, and appreciate the viewpoints of others. The school’s curriculum provides opportunities to openly tackle controversial issues and challenge misconceptions. Students have the opportunity to visit places of significant cultural interest and places of worship. In addition we actively encourage visitors from a range of communities and organisations into the school.
The school promotes an environment where all students work and socialise with students from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, co-operating well, celebrating diversity and resolving conflicts effectively. Ethnic minorities are included in all aspects of the school e.g. leadership roles, sport, drama, music etc.
Respect is important to all, and is at the core of our school life. Pupils learn that their behaviours 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 and this is reiterated through our teaching and learning environments. Mutual respect is embraced throughout the curriculum by providing the opportunity for pupils to express their views in a safe environment.