It is ours, and every school’s responsibility “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.”
At Shamblehurst we promote these values at all times in the following ways:
At the beginning of each year children at Shamblehurst affirm the school’s expectations of staff and pupil behaviour and the rights and responsibilities associated with these. The children and staff are all responsible for upholding the school rules and values, resulting in a positive and harmonious ethos.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a new School Council which meets regularly to discuss how to resolve issues raised in class. School Council Representatives are voted for by their peers at the start of each academic year. Each child who is interested in standing as a school councillor writes a manifesto and shares it with the other children. A secret ballot is held and voting takes places. Children understand that a place on the School Council comes with the responsibility of representing their peers’ needs and interests.
We encourage children to be leaders throughout the school and we have a number of activities and responsibilities that are undertaken by the children. For example, pupils from Upper Key Stage 2 are buddies and peer mentors at lunch and play times and sports leaders. They are responsible for encouraging all children to take part at playtime, for example by inviting them into games.
Democracy is taught during assemblies and during class-based PSHE sessions. Children regularly get opportunities to express their views in school through Pupil Voice interviews and questionnaires. In Year Six we will visit The Houses of Parliament and see our democratic process in action first hand. We have also made links with our local MP Mims Davies, inviting her to visit the school and talk about her role.
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 at Shamblehurst, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. At the start of each year, children have the opportunity to develop their own class rules with their class teacher, allowing them to take ownership of their own behaviour in school. All staff have high expectations of behaviour and it is seen as an absolute priority by the entire school community. Children know what is expected of them, why rules are so important, and what the consequences are if they do not follow them.
Children develop a thorough understanding of personal responsibility and develop independence in managing relationships and behaviour. Through our PSHE curriculum we enable children to develop the language and strategies to solve conflict and right wrongs. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities and groups such as the Police, Fire Service, children’s charities etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message. Our Celebrate Safeguarding Day is a key feature of this (Dec 16).
Shamblehurst is a safe place for children and cultivates an atmosphere in which they can make choices about their school life in a supportive environment. We educate our pupils to know that they have boundaries within which they may make choices safely. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand, and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised on how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it is through choice of challenge, or how they record, or of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
The aims of our school nurtures an understanding of mutual respect, where children learn to treat each other as equals and with shared regard for each other’s talents and differences. Assemblies and PSHE lessons regularly cover ‘Respect’, when pupils have been part of discussions related to what this means and how we show it. When a child does well, their achievement is displayed and shared for everyone to learn from their positive attitude and commitment. We have a ‘Learning Superhero’ display which is added to weekly and children’s achievements are celebrated in assemblies and through our newsletter. We talk regularly in class and in assemblies about having a positive growth mindset. Effort in learning is highly respected and the whole school is focused on developing an intrinsic sense of worth and achievement. Children are aware of the challenges of learning and we are beginning to embed our ‘learning muscles’ so that Shamblehurst has a shared language of learning within its supportive learning community.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Children at Shamblehurst are given frequent opportunities to experience diversity and are encouraged to see their place in a modern culturally rich society. We have within our school a wide range of different faiths, beliefs, languages and cultures. We regularly hold whole-school assemblies to celebrate and learn about the numerous religious festivals that happen throughout the school year. Further to that, assemblies around prejudices and prejudice-based bullying are supported through learning in RE and PSHE. Anti-Bullying week is planned for November and all children will take part. We harness cultural links in our classes and often reach out into the community to support our teaching: for example, the school has a high-profile that runs throughout the year, linked to languages spoken by our EAL pupils and within the local community,celebrated by our young interpreter scheme. Children experience influences from all over the world in their classrooms, and enjoy taking part in celebratory events that recognise and value difference including ‘One World Week’ planned for January 2017.