Promoting our Cultural Values
The DfE 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 2011, and these values were reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2015. At the heart of these values are good relationships in which teachers, parents and students work together towards common goals.
We agree with the Department for Education’s five-part definition of British values:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
At The Commonweal School these values are both integral and reinforced on a daily basis in the following ways.
Students have the opportunity to contribute to school life through Student Voice. Each tutor group elects School Council representatives who meet each term. Students are given the opportunity to debate and discuss democracy in many areas of the curriculum. Opportunities for all students to have their say can be seen particularly in Philosophy and Ethics, English, Humanities and Citizenship; although all subjects will involve discussion, turn taking, debate and decision making. Students are also invited to local Youth Parliament meetings where they are given the opportunity to serve their local community. Students are invited to work along staff and governors in the employment of new staff and are regularly invited to be part of the interview process via student panels. Recently students were consulted over the new Sixth Form provision and proposed PE uniform changes.
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 assemblies. Students have been involved in the creation of school rules at regular intervals as well being involved in the Commonweal Code and school’s Behaviour Policy.
Students are taught the value and reasons behind laws that govern and protect us. The Commonweal Code is shared at the start of the new academic year and revisited through assemblies and tutor periods throughout the year. The school regularly host visits from outside agencies, e.g. The Police and Fire Service, to help reinforce the importance of this message.
We have a positive culture in our school where students are able to make choices in a safe environment. Differentiated planning by teachers allows students the opportunity to have a more personalised learning experience. The school curriculum enables all students to make guided choices regarding future academic pathways. We offer a wide range of activities designed to allow every student the opportunity to take part in an extra-curricular activity in which they have an interest.
Students are also taught about the importance of E-Safety through assemblies and Citizenship and ICT/Computing lessons.
Students are involved in selection of contractors for the school canteen and are able to make educated choices at break and lunchtimes.
The Commonweal Code engenders our basic belief in mutual respect. This is integral in our school wide and classroom rules and is reinforced in day to day teaching, tutor activities and assemblies. All staff in school promote and demonstrate respect for others and this is also reflected in older students in their roles as House Officials and Sports Captains. Achievement is celebrated across the school; in assemblies, using House Points, through postcards home, and through our website and newsletters. The school promotes anti-bullying measures, with students actively involved in all aspects from policy development through to group activities.
Tolerance of those of Different Faith and Beliefs
The Commonweal School believes that tolerance is built through enhancing students understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity through the curriculum and in extracurricular activities. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice- based bullying have been led by senior staff and this is reinforced in learning particularly in RE and PSHE as well as other subjects across the school. The school also offers various opportunities for students to become knowledgeable about other faiths and beliefs through visits abroad and visits from outside speakers of different faiths and cultures.