British Values

  • Background

    The Department for Education published guidance in 2014 on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.

    The guidance aims to help schools understand their responsibilities in this area. All have a duty to ‘actively 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. These values were first set out by the government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011.

    Until now schools have been required to ‘respect’ these values, but as a result of changes brought in earlier in the year all schools must now have a clear strategy for embedding these values and show how their work with pupils has been effective in doing so. The changes were designed to “tighten up the standards on pupil welfare to improve safeguarding, and the standards on spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils to strengthen the barriers to extremism”.

    Ofsted and the independent inspectorates now take the work of schools in this area into account during inspections.


    Pupils are expected to develop:

    • an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
    • an understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law
    • an acceptance that people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
    • an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination



    Democracy is embedded throughout our curriculum. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through:

    • Junior Leadership Team (representatives are elected by their class)
    • Pupil surveys and questionnaires
    • Voting for class rewards
    • Drop in culture with senior leaders who are visible throughout the school day
    • Pupil voice activities on our monitoring schedule
    • We prove that we listen to children by acting on their suggestions and requests whenever we can.


    The Rule of Law

    The importance of Laws are consistently reinforced throughout the school week and are linked to our school rules of Be Respectful and Be Safe. Children are taught in assembly and in PSHE lessons the value and reasons behind laws and the responsibility they have to follow them. They are taught about consequences for breaking the law and for breaking school rules. Visits from the Police Community Officers and the Fire Brigade help us to deliver this message in an age-appropriate way.


     Individual Liberty

    Pupils are actively encouraged the make choices, knowing they are in a safe and supportive environment. We educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make choices safely – to choose who to play with, what games to play, what interests to follow. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms.

    We aim to cover the following themes in assemblies and lessons:

    • Not everyone has to like the same hobbies – it’s fine to prefer reading to football or to dislike computer games.
    • Everyone can choose who to play with. We remind children not to leave others out of games, and to look out for anyone who may be lonely, but we don’t force a child to play with someone.


    Mutual Respect

    Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around ‘Be Respectful’, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. This is emphasised throughout every school day with examples used so that children develop a good understanding.

    We aim to cover the following themes in assemblies and lessons:

    • Families and how they differ (mum and dad, just mum or dad, two mums, foster carer etc) – discussed with sensitivity as all types of families are represented at Rossmere
    • Examples of behaviours that are respectful and not respectful – taught so that children understand the word ‘respect’
    • Work on friendship and positive relationships is taught through PSHE, group work with Place2Be and discussions in response to concerns.
    • Consent and what it means is discussed in scenarios that are relevant to our children – asking permission to hold someone’s hand or hug someone.


    Tolerance and Acceptance of Different Faiths and Beliefs

    This is achieved through enhancing pupils 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.

    Rossmere is not diverse in terms of faiths or beliefs (the vast majority of children have no faith) therefore introducing faiths and beliefs, celebrating important dates and festivals and providing all children with knowledge is vital in teaching tolerance.