The DfE have 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 recently reiterated. At Gosforth East Middle School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
We have the Pupil Council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings and to consult on questions asked by the Headteacher. The council meets regularly with a member of SLT and is able to genuinely effect change within the school.
Each year there is a whole school election process in which the children vote for the House Captains to represent and lead their House.
The curriculum in PSHCE includes democracy within the teaching, both as its own topic and when intertwined within other topics.
Student Voice is a key focus within subjects and views and opinions are listened to and considered when planning the curriculum.
We offer a range of leadership opportunities such as Sports Ambassadors, Door Monitors and Eco-Champions to encourage students to take an active part in school life.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced by the school ethos. At Gosforth East Middle School, we follow the 4Rs, and our rules and high, clear expectations are taught to the children through the curriculum and through school assemblies. This is supported by a robust rewards system and strong pastoral care. Pupils 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 other agencies such as the magistrates, Police and Dave Burns help reinforce this message and help the children understand through real-life examples. Children take part in 'Bikeabillity' and through this they learn the law of the road. In addition, Road safety and legal consequences of actions are covered with the PSHCE curriculum.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and they are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHCE lessons. The curriculum is all-inclusive and celebratory of individuality. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Our whole school ethos is built on respect, mutual respect that is at the heart of our school. Children learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect. This is taught explicitly through the curriculum, assemblies and the behaviour system.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Gosforth East prides itself on its culturally rich and diverse curriculum. Assemblies are regularly planned to share a wider understanding and respect for others through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHCE teaching reinforce this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths. At Gosforth East we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Value the Importance of Identifying and Combatting Extremism
All adults working at Gosforth East Middle School are aware of their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of every pupil. This involves being safe both physically and emotionally, in and out of school. Each member of staff understands the importance of protecting children from radicalisation and extremism and have been trained in how to spot the signs and actions to take. All staff understand it is as important to safeguard against radicalisation and extremism as it is to safeguard against any vulnerability. We take steps to highlight and protect any child from being radicalised and exposed to extremist views by identifying such pupils and placing prompt support in place.