The Department for Education has recently stated the need to:
"create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs".
What are 'Fundamental British Values?
Schools are required to provide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of their pupils. As part of this requirement, schools are expected to actively promote fundamental British values.
The government defines these as:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance (including of different faiths and beliefs)
What does this mean for my child?
Schools’ programmes for learning about fundamental British values are designed to prepare children and young people for life in modern Britain.
This includes helping pupils understand:
- The importance of combatting discrimination
- How we can influence decision-making by taking part in democratic processes like voting and petitioning
- Our freedom under British law to choose different faiths and beliefs
- That the law is there to keep us safe
British Values are already a part of our school Ethos:
Byfield is a friendly school where everybody is caring and welcoming. We provide children with inspiring learning opportunities and ensure children are encouraged, supported and challenged so they develop a love of learning. At Byfield we believe that every child is entitled to become a confident, independent, well-rounded individual who is equipped with all the skills to lead a successful and rewarding life. Children at Byfield are confident to face challenges, believe in themselves and are proud of their achievements.
How does Byfield School teach each value?
Below is how we teach each value in school:
- Linked to School Core Value Fair (Term 2 focus).
- Take opportunities to explain the national democratic system, e.g. election time, including through role play.
- Build democracy into school life, e.g. School Council; class votes on issues, e.g. choice of story.
- In literacy, develop children’s ability to present an argument and debate.
- In times of national votes, in PSHCE and assemblies discuss what an election is and why it is fair. Older children link with class elections – creating their own party, coming up with policies and manifestos and having class vote.
The Rule of Law
- Linked to school rules / School Bees (Term 1 focus together with being Determined).
- Teach understanding of the difference between right and wrong.
- In RE, build understanding of the difference between “religious law” and “state law” (promoting understanding that state law has to be obeyed).
- Promoting school “rules” which protect the rights of individuals.
- Involve children in the development of school and class rules.
- Linked to School Value of being Responsible (Term 3 Focus).
- Establish “rights” of children and teachers relating to school “rules”
- For older children, introduce moral dilemmas – e.g. how the freedom of the press might compromise the freedom of some individuals.
- Linked to Core Value Respectful (Term 4 Focus)
- Promote respect as a fundamental school value.
- Challenge any lack of respect as it occurs.
- Linked to school value of being Caring (Term 5 Focus).
- Use a wide range of resources across the curriculum to familiarise children with different religions, cultural differences (food, clothing, daily routines, etc).
- Challenge any intolerance as it occurs.
In Term 6 we focus on our value of being Courageous and use this as an opportunity to consolidate all of the British Values.
Promoting British Values is generally seen to be part of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education (SMSC)
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my child still be able to express his/her faith at school?
Absolutely. One of the fundamental British values is respect and tolerance of people with different faiths. British law protects people’s freedom to hold their own beliefs.
Any prejudice or discrimination towards pupils on the basis of their faith goes against the fundamental British values and will not be tolerated.
How will this affect my child’s lessons?
The curriculum provides lots of opportunities to look at fundamental British values. Your child may already have some experience of this in lessons such as religious education (RE) and personal, social and health education (PSHE).
Schools should look out for these opportunities and encourage children to think about how the values link into the topics they are studying.
The following guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) may be useful for further information:
Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools, GOV.UK – DfE