Fundamental British Values
As part of a Community College, we believe that British Values are embedded right across the curriculum at Springwell and we strive to ensure that our pupils are nurtured and are taught a clear set of values and a sound understanding of tolerance, community cohesion and rights and responsibilities.
The Department of Education have 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.
If we take each of these aspects individually, these are addressed in the following ways at Springwell.
At Springwell democracy is taken very seriously. Children are actively encouraged to have a voice and share their views and opinions regularly through various mediums, notably our Students Matter group who meet twice a term to discuss every aspect of school life. They meet as a whole group during the school day and then in individual sub committees to discuss and debate specific issues.
These groups are:
- Our Teaching and Learning
- Our Communication and technology
- Our Community
- Our Healthy Schools
- Our Wellbeing
- Our Enrichment
Every September, each tutor group will elect their representatives.
In addition, in PHSE lessons we ran mock elections with pupils researching different policies and then representing the party of their choice. Speeches and hustings took place with all pupils then given a vote. Also in PHSE, Beat the Ballot ran in Y11 involving local councillors and all pupils will be involved in Local Democracy Week in PHSE – with over 100 Y10 and Y11 pupils visiting the Town Hall to engage in a debate about local issues in the council chamber.
Pupil questionnaires are conducted every 2 years by Kirkland Rowell, with their student voice helping to inform decisions made by the leadership team.
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 the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Children 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. Rights and Responsibilities is embedded right the way throughout PHSE – with one of the first lesson they are taught in Y7 focussing on this subject – complemented by our Learning to Learn curriculum.
Our Behaviour For Learning policy is and code of conduct is included in every pupil’s planner and is displayed in all classrooms, referred to regularly and consistently upheld. Pupils are completely aware of the sanctions in place and know that actions always have consequences. Parents are kept informed through daily texts messages for poor behaviour.
Visits from authorities such as the Police and strong links with the PCSOs help reinforce this message.
Within school, children are actively encouraged to make decisions and choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young children to take risks and make choices safely. Children 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 it be through choice of learning challenge, how they record their learning, participation in one of our extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, children are given the freedom to make choices and make decisions.
In addition, pupils are offered and encouraged to enhance and involve pupils in further areas of College and community life. The whole college supports individually liberties but also individual responsibilities. Within college, opportunities offered to pupils include Arts Leaders, Sports Leaders, LRC Assistants and Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, giving them the freedom and responsibility to lead different aspects and areas of College life.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. This is promoted within the Learning to Learn Curriculum in Y7 and throughout the FTTP and PHSE programme. It is also embedded in our whole College ethos.
Tolerance of Those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Springwell is situated in an area which is not culturally diverse, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this. Each year the children explore a world faith alongside their learning about Christianity. By the time they leave us all children have learnt about the beliefs and practices of people of the following world faiths; Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. In RE, visits are held throughout the year so that pupils can experience differing faiths first hand, from visits to a Mosque and the Open Centre in Derby in Y8 to Beth Shalmon and the Holocaust Centre in Y9. In addition, our Global Dimensions Cooridinator has forged links with a more diverse school in Derby, Derby Moor Sports College, with Y7s annually and arranged exchanges with them. In addition, Skype calls are made within RE lessons to our paired school in Pakistan - again exposing pupils to different cultures and traditions and helping to promote tolerance and cohesion.
Throughout January all students in Year 9 and 10 received a full days’ workshop on Extremism and Radicalisation. The aim of the sessions was to support our British Values curriculum and to educate students in how to recognise extremist views and how to prevent themselves being drawn into radicalisation. Rather than teacher-talk we were privileged to be able to host Professor Manny Barot and his colleague Chris who spent the day with our students and were able to give them first hand, personal accounts of their experience of radicalisation and extremism.
Manny is an ex-police officer who spoke of his experience of being on the receiving end of racism throughout his life as he discovered that even nice people can be racist; from mums at football training to people passing him and his family in the street. Manny joined the Government ‘Channel’ programme aimed at providing support to individuals at risk of being drawn into violent extremism which is where he met Chris.
Chris was initially a hugely successful footballer, even playing for the England under-21 team at Wembley Stadium. Following a family bereavement, Chris was drawn into aggression and violence around football hooliganism. After joining a renowned violent football hooligan organisation, Chris was radicalised by people with far right views and he soon moved through their ranks. Chris’s involvement in this group went far beyond racist insults and ended with him being stabbed and hospitalised. During this time Chris lost the support of his family, friends and, most importantly, he lost his son. He was alone, violent and vulnerable and was placed in protective custody. During his time in custody Chris was heavily medicated in order to keep him compliant and eventually he was introduced to the Channel programme in an attempt to reform his views and prevent him from further radicalisation. He has since got his life back on track – thanks to Manny, his mentoring, support and friendship.
Opinions were challenged and minds opened as pupils were made to make life changing decisions and tackle their own prejudices head on; pupils were placed in an emergency scenario and were forced to decide which student’s life should be saved and who should be sacrificed. We listened with ‘Games of Thrones’, were moved by Leicester University’s ‘Harms of Hate’ and were brought to tears as Manny recounted his daughter’s reaction as he became ill with a brain tumour.
The day was incredibly powerful and moving and students were incredible in terms of their listening, their involvement and their engagement with some really difficult and challenging issues.
The feedback from students was really positive with pupils calling it ‘inspirational’, ‘insightful’ and ‘emotional’, with students even handing Manny hand written notes expressing their gratitude.
Staff too gave incredibly positive feedback, with one member of staff saying: “I had the pleasure of being present during the Zebra Red day. It was a thoroughly captivating speech for students and staff alike. Not only was his story hard-hitting and relevant, but his delivery was pitched perfectly for our students. The message that was conveyed to students will no doubt permeate and stay with them – I actually went home and spoke about how inspirational it was to me.”
Another said: “The behaviour of the entire Y9 cohort was immaculate through the whole hour – a testament to how powerful and relevant the session was to them. I would like to congratulate Zebra Red for their work, I have been involved in many outside speaker events in a variety of schools over the last 10 years, and this was by far the best.”
The sessions were followed up with several lessons in PHSE for both year groups, with pupils discussing the issues in more depth and detail and reflecting on what was an incredibly compelling, captivating and absorbing day.