The DfE has recently 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 have been reiterated by the Prime Minister this year. At Sexey’s these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is sound within the school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Student Council, student questionnaires, meetings with Senior Leaders and meetings with School Governors – as do our parents and staff. The elections of House and Form Captains are based on pupil and staff votes. Students have a say on new staff appointments as we convene a student panel and ask for their feedback. The teaching of GCSE History and A-level History and Government & Politics reinforces the value of democracy and students also take part in the Youth Parliament Elections.
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, 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police form a regular part of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Within school, students are actively encouraged to make choices and to assess risk, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a boarding school we educate and provide boundaries for young people to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe and secure environment and empowering education. Students are encouraged to be independent and to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms. They are advised how to exercise these responsibly and safely through our eSafety and PSHE lessons and through our supportive boarding community. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular activities and opportunities, students are given the freedom to make intellectual choices.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values of ’Tolerance’, ‘Respect’, and ‘Kindness’ and students have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Displays around the school and in the School Chapel promote tolerance and respect for others and this is reiterated through our classrooms, as well as our behaviour policy.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
This is achieved through enhancing students’ 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 have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Our strong relationship with the community, local parish, St Mary’s, Bruton, other parishes around the town and the Diocese of Bath & Wells support the work that we do in school to promote tolerance, equality and understanding.
Mr I H Latif