What are ‘fundamental British values’?
Schools are required to provide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of their pupils. As part of this requirement, we are expected to actively promote fundamental British values. The government defines these as:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
- The importance of combatting discrimination
- How we can influence decision-making by taking part in democratic processes like voting and petitioning
- Our freedom under British law to choose different faiths and beliefs
- That the law is there to keep us safe
What does this look like in our school?
The values are reflected throughout our school, including in our ethos, policies and assemblies. Children also engage with the values through the curriculum, in ways that are suitable for their age and context. For example, in some subjects there are opportunities to think about traditions from different cultures and religions.
Extra-curricular activities such as games teach children about the importance of rules. Pupil votes, questionnaires and councils are other ways that children can have their voices heard and learn about democracy. Our duty to actively promote fundamental British values means that we always present political views to children in a balanced way. We are also responsible for challenging prejudiced or extreme opinions and behaviour.
As part of this responsibility, we have put measures in place to protect children from exposure to extremist views. Please feel free to contact the school if you would like more information about this.
Can my child express his/her faith at school?
Absolutely. One of the fundamental values is respect and tolerance of people with different faiths, and we teach our children that British law protects their freedom to hold their own beliefs. Any prejudice or discrimination towards pupils on the basis of their faith goes against the fundamental British values and will not be tolerated by the school.
How will this affect my child’s lessons?
The curriculum provides lots of opportunities to look at fundamental British values. Your child will already have some experience of this in lessons such as religious education (RE) and personal, social and health education (PSHE). In each subject, our teachers will look out for these opportunities and encourage children to think about how the values link into the topics they are studying.
How does this show in the school’s ethos?
Our school’s ethos already includes many aspects of the government’s fundamental British values. For example, we expect our children to follow the school rules and show kindness to one another. We have a School Council which promotes democracy and mutual respect. Promoting fundamental British values will reinforce, not change, our current ethos.