British Values and Our Catholic Ethos
British values are considered by the present government to be democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
The promotion of ‘British values’ is central to Catholic education because British values have their origin in the Christian values of our nation.
“We are proud that Catholic schools promote values that are both Catholic and British, including: respect for the individual, democracy, individual liberty, respect, tolerance and inclusiveness. Our schools promote cohesion by serving more ethnically diverse and poorer communities. Catholic schools provide high standards of education which are popular with parents from all social, economic and faith backgrounds.”
Paul Barber (Catholic Education Service 15 December 2014).
At St Joseph’s we not only want to help our students flourish academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, so that they are fully prepared for life in British society. We teach the importance of British Values by learning what it means to live a good life, within a framework of Catholic Christian Values.
In understanding British values, we draw upon the example of Jesus and his welcome for and inclusion of all. At St Joseph’s we provide an education which focuses on the formation of the whole person and on our vocation and purpose in life. We are guided by our mission statement ‘With God in our hearts, we love and learn’ and by the Christian values of honourable purpose (that is, vocation and service), respect, compassion, co-operation and stewardship as we reflect on our place and purpose in the world. We place a significant emphasis on the celebration of individuality and difference within our communities and our calling to work for the Common Good, in the service of others. Our Catholic ethos, which includes explicit reference to Christian and British values, makes a tangible difference to the way we work learn and work together in school and with our wider communities.
Within this framework we ensure we meet the government’s requirements with regard to the teaching of view of British values expressed as ‘democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.’
The examples that follow are an indication of some of the many ways we seek to embed British values at St Joseph’s RC Primary School and should be seen as examples of some of our approaches rather than an exhaustive list.
Democracy- Whilst at school, children learn about what it is like to live in a democratic society. Having a school council and school council leaders, means that from an early age, children see first-hand the importance of listening to ideas and being allowed the freedom to cast their own views or votes and be listened to. They learn that through debating they are able to share ideas, use their voice and make their own judgments based on what they have heard. These ideas are highlighted for example in English and history lessons.
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 every day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through assemblies. The curriculum is designed to ensure children are taught the values and reasons behind laws. Children learn that they govern and protect us and that we have our own responsibilities to ensure that rules/laws are not broken. They learn about the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
Individual Liberty- Within St Joseph’s, children are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. We educate children so that they learn to make the right choices in a safe environment. We encourage children to see themselves as unique individuals that are able to make a unique contribution to their school and wider community. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and receive advice about how to exercise these safely, for example through our exploration of E-Safety in computing .
Mutual Respect- Modelled in all that we do and through our classroom and learning environments as well as extra-curricular activities such as sports, children learn the importance of mutual respect. Children are able to voice their opinions as we foster an environment where students can debate ideas and are safe to disagree with each other. We encourage students to develop mutual respect throughout the curriculum and our code of conduct promotes the values of respect and responsibility.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs- Children develop positive values through the understanding of their own beliefs and their place in a culturally diverse society. We give our students opportunities to experience diversity and within the wider community. All children experience a connection with other cultures and beliefs through our RE and themed world days. Our Religious Studies curriculum follows the teaching of the Church in providing a broad and balanced education, which includes an understanding of and respect for people of other faiths or none and other religions, cultures and lifestyles.