Catholic Values and British Values
The government set out its definition of “British values” in the “Prevent Strategy,” (2011), which was designed to prevent extremism and religious radicalization of young people.
In November 2014, the Department for Education issued schools with guidance on the understanding and knowledge expected of pupils as a result of their promotion of ‘fundamental British values’ which are defined as democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths or beliefs.
Children are expected to develop:
• an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;
• an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;
• an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;
• an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
• an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour; and
• an understanding of the importance of identifying and combating discrimination
The promotion of “British values,” is central to Catholic education because British values have their origin in the Christian values of our nation.
“We are proud that Catholic schools promote values that are both Catholic and British, including: respect, tolerance and inclusiveness. Our schools promote cohesion by serving more ethnically diverse and poorer communities. Catholic schools provide high standards of education which are popular with parents from all social, economic and faith backgrounds.”
Paul Barber (Catholic Education Service 15/12/2014)
At St Patrick’s we recognise, not only the importance of helping children flourish academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, so that they begin to be fully prepared for life in British society and for their role as citizens, able to make the strongest possible contribution to the Common Good of all. We teach the importance of British values by going deeper into the meaning of what it means to live a good life, within a framework of Catholic Christian values. Our framework for understanding British values draws on the example of Jesus and his welcome and inclusion of all, which is developed in Catholic social teaching. We provide an education that is focused on the formation of the whole person and our vocation and purpose in life. We are guided by our mission statement “empower everyone to be the person God intended them to be, by acting justly, loving faithfully and walking tenderly with God,” and by the Christian values of respect and responsibility.
At St. Patrick’s R.C. Primary School, British values are taught primarily through Religious Education and PSHE, with a clear focus on the Catholic faith as core to our values with Christ as our guide. British values are also taught through the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum which ensures that pupils are provided with practical opportunities to explore these values within our own school, parish and local community.
The British values outlined above are explored and reinforced in the following ways:
• The school mission statement was the result of a consultation process which involved children, staff, parents and governors. Children throughout the school worked together to outline the vision for St. Patrick’s and, as a result, have been able to take ownership of the resulting statement.
• Through the School Council, children have the opportunity to outline their qualities for the role of Class Councillor before an election based on pupil votes. The School Council ensures that the voices of all children are heard and enables the children to take ownership of their surroundings.
• Children in Key Stage Two voted for the positions of Head Boy and Head Girl based on speeches outlining the qualities of the children who put themselves forward for the roles. Such voting opportunities enable children to develop their understanding of democracy and its impact on the school environment.
• Through democracy in the classroom, St. Patrick’s teaches that the opinions of each individual are valued. This is evident in the relationships which teachers and support staff develop with the pupils in their care. The School Rules also emphasise the importance of listening skills and children are actively encouraged to consider the ideas and opinions of others through various speaking and listening opportunities built into lessons.
• Through the PE curriculum, which involves teams games we encourage turn taking and following simple rules.
The Rule of Law
• The importance of laws and rules are reinforced through the school Behaviour Policy. The School Rules, displayed and implemented throughout the school, ensure that pupils are treated consistently and are aware of expectations for their behaviour. Children are reminded of these at the beginning of each half term through Standards and Expectations Days. A clear reward system is in place which encourages and promotes good behaviour, attitude and work. Children are rewarded for adherence to the School Rules and are aware of the sanctions involved if these are broken. In these instances, pupils are encouraged to reflect on their behaviour. As a Catholic school, the importance of forgiveness is explicit in the behaviour policy and modelled by staff through its implementation.
• Visits from authorities such as the Fire Service are planned into the curriculum
• We support pupils in developing their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence through our Catholic ethos and Behaviour Policy. We aim to meet the needs of all pupils through differentiated activities, intervention groups and individual provision plans to ensure that all children can access the curriculum.
• We encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour as well as understanding their rights through making connections between rights and responsibilities and a consistent approach towards the school Behaviour Policy.
• We encourage and provide opportunities for all the children to participate in a range of different sports and exercise led activities, recognising that we all have different gifts, talents and skills.
• St Patrick’s Mission Statement is inclusive and recognises the value of each individual within our school community. This is visible in each classroom and throughout the school to reinforce the values we demonstrate each day.
• Respect is one of our core values and is modelled by children and staff alike.
• The school Behaviour Policy reinforces respect for each other founded upon Christ’s ‘Golden Rule’. Good manners are modelled by staff and children are rewarded around the school with house points for demonstrating politeness and care for others. In addition, the 5Ws certificated awarded during Friday’s Celebration Assembly include an award for Welfare in recognition of its importance within a caring Catholic community.
• SRE provision is led from a faith perspective and emphasises that every person is unique and created in God’s image. This is further supported by PSHE provision. We are beginning to use the Caritas in Action resources published by Salford Diocese. These resources centre on faith in action and developing positive relationships with ourselves, friends, family and the wider community.
• Fundraising activities occur throughout the year whereby children are able to show their understanding that others may be less fortunate than themselves. This academic year children have donated food during Harvest mass, raised money for CAFOD and run Lenten activities for St. Joseph’s Penny. The value of giving is reinforced through the RE curriculum and addressed by each year group across school.
• During physical exercise the children are taught to respect others and recognise that we are all different and unique, holding different skills and talents. Children take part in competitive games and competitions and are always encouraged to show respect to other players and the referees.
• St Patrick’s are currently beginning to establish links with other schools within Salford Diocese and Lancashire County.
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
• Children are supported in acquiring an understanding of and respect for their own and other cultures and ways of life. This is delivered through Religious Education which includes a discrete unit on World Religions to deepen children’s understanding and appreciation of other faiths. In addition, Geography units in both Key Stages One and Two focus on life in different countries and making links between these and our own.
Opportunities for Development
• St Patrick’s will consider working towards Unicef’s Rights Respecting Schools award which focuses on embedding children’s rights in the ethos and culture of school communities
• During Summer 1, the focus on world religions could be supported by class visits to the Jewish museum in Manchester or other places of worship linked to the faiths studied.
• Local councillors could be contacted as a result of English work on formal letter writing. Visits from councillors could be arranged to discuss issues of local concern.
• Visits could be arranged from members of the emergency services in relation to personal safety issues, vocations or people who help us.
• Children can begin to take an active role in policy reviews through the School Council
• Links with other school councils could be fostered to share ideas and learn from others within the local area
• Children could support more work within the parish community
• Visits to places of worship, other than our local parish church could be encouraged and planned