Our list of values, that we share as a school community, has been put together with suggestions from children, staff, parents and governors. These describe the guiding principles of our school and how we want to behave and interact. They describe how we will deliver our mission. Our values for 2020-21 are hope, friendship, endurance, thankfulness, love and courage.
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, and these values were reiterated in 2014. At St Mary's these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
The spirit of democracy is alive within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through Student Council meetings, circle time, pupil questionnaires and worry boxes. The election of House Captains and Student Councillors is based solely on pupil votes. Our school Behaviour Policy rewards children for taking responsibility for the class as a whole group. Pupils lead prayers and help shape their learning through brainstorming sessions at the beginning of new topics.
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 assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when the laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the police and local magistrates are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are encouraged through our Learning Toolkit to be independent and make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment to do so. We educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices for themselves. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether through choice of work, level of challenge, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices for themselves.
Our school ethos and Behaviour Policy revolve around our core values, including trust, friendship, forgiveness and compassion. Pupils are involved in discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Posters around the school reinforce our expectations and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our Behaviour Policy. This is also included in a weekly assembly focus.
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying are supported by learning in RE and PSHE. We teach understanding of the beliefs of other faiths in RE lessons, and take part in multi-faith trips and activities. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Weekly assemblies reflect different religions and cultures.