The DfE has 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.”
At South Wootton Junior School these values are promoted in a variety of ways. Below are just some aspects of school’s life that enable children to get a sense of these fundamentals values.
At South Wootton Junior School we ensure that all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to. We have a School Council where two representatives from each class are elected by the pupils to participate in Council meetings. These weekly meetings provide a way for children to give their opinions and influence important decisions made in the school. Class council representatives, in turn, hold Class Council meetings where their peers can discuss key elements of school life including those issues they wish to be raised in School Council meetings.
The school also has a Head Boy and Head Girl who are elected democratically at the beginning of the year. They also have regularly meetings with the Headteacher to feedback about what is good and what can be improved in the school.
Democracy is embedded within our school curriculum; all children are actively encouraged to participate in class discussions and in their learning. Pupils are given opportunities to argue and defend points of view through weekly ‘Thunks’ (philosophical questions) and Public debates on a range of moral and ethical issues.
We teach children about how democracy and the law works in Britain and their rights and responsibilities as British Citizens. For example, we have recently had a lawyer deliver an assembly on the law.
Children are taught to respect others regardless of their individual differences. Bullying of any kind is not tolerated and our approach to dealing with bullying incidents can be found in our Behaviour Policy. We have booklets available for parents about Bullying if you would like further information.
Children are taught about how to develop respectful relationships in a wide variety of ways including through our PATHs curriculum. We also promote mutual respect in the online world. All the children have attended an NSPCC assembly, Cyber Bullying workshops and they will be taking part in Internet Safety Day in February.
We hold assemblies that celebrate difference and other cultures. For example, the festivals of Divali and Thanksgiving have been explored in assemblies. These help to build understanding of different people and their belief systems.
Equality is one of our values and is promoted in every aspect of school. We actively promote gender equality and teach the children about racial equality through PATHs lessons.
Some pupils carry out the role of ‘play leader’ at lunchtimes where they help to organise activities with other pupils to enable them to have enjoyable playtimes. This fosters a mutual respect between all parties across a range of ages.
The charity work that our children participate in is extremely valuable in helping them to develop a respect for others whilst also supporting the development of their role as active citizens in the wider society.
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Our Equalities Policy ensures that people of all religious beliefs, genders, ethnicities, abilities or any other differences are offered the same opportunities to thrive at our school.
During PATHS lessons and through our restorative approach to dealing with behavioural issues, children learn to accept and embrace difference and to understand how individuals feel by exploring emotional literacy. This work crosses all potential barriers of faith and religion. Supporting this, children’s RE lessons enable them to develop a growing understanding of different cultures and beliefs. The more children learn about religions, the more likely they are to understand different people’s motivations and feelings, thereby enabling them to be more tolerant of those cultures and beliefs that differ from their own.
Children’s understanding of other countries and their traditions, cultures and beliefs is developed through our teaching of languages (French and German). In previous years, we have also held Foreign Language Days in conjunction with our feeder High School.
In assemblies, religious tolerance is strengthened through making pupils aware of different religious events such as Divali, Ramadan as well as Christian celebrations such as Christmas.
Rule of Law
Our Behaviour Policy helps to ensure that children understand how to behave in a positive way that helps to create a good learning environment. Our reward system of house points reinforces this.
Children and parents sign a Home School Agreement upon entering South Wootton Junior School that sets out the expectations for pupils’ learning and behaviour. These commitments mirror the expectations set by society and function as a set of rules to enable positive participation in school life.
Through our PATHs curriculum, children are taught about emotional wellbeing and how their individual choices can affect those around them. By encouraging children to take responsibility for their own choices, we are promoting the ownership of behaviour and adherence to the rule of law in wider society.
In the past, the local PCSO has visited the school to talk to the children about how to stay safe, particularly online. This helps the children to see that there are police services to help uphold the law and to protect them.
Year 6 children participate in the Norfolk Fire Service event ‘Crucial Crew’ to learn about a whole range of activities linked to the Rule of Law as well as their responsibilities towards their own safety and that of other people.
Children are taught about rights and responsibilities in our PATHs curriculum and also as part of our assembly programme. Specific assemblies focus on individual liberty, such as Nelson Mandela.
Children’s achievements are celebrated in assemblies to instil in them a sense of worth and create ambitious pupils who believe in themselves. On a monthly basis, parents are invited to attend a Celebration Assembly.
Children are taught about making ‘good’ choices and have a full understanding that they are the ones that make choices about how they act, whether those choices are well made or not.
In Year 6 children take on a variety of roles and responsibilities that help to make the school function well such as prefects. They apply for the roles and so freely choose the way they will contribute to our community.
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