At The Trinity Catholic School, we seek to promote and uphold the primacy of Christian values such as love, forgiveness, acceptance, justice and hope. We regard these values as universally and timelessly true. These are reflected in our school mission statement, ethos, faith practice, charity work, assemblies, academic and pastoral work, and general approach to the social, moral, spiritual and cultural education of our children.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. These values are:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect
- tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
The aims are to:
- enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
- encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely;
- enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England;
- further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures;
- encourage respect for other people; and
- encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
‘Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools’ (November 2014)
These values are not taught as discrete subjects or topics but are interwoven throughout the academic and pastoral curricula of the school. In a more subtle sense, they are embedded in the ‘hidden curriculum’ through our personal dealing with the students.
Below is a summary of the areas and ways in which British values are taught. This list is not exhaustive:
The school actively promotes responsible decision making through the School Council elections. Each form has an elected representative who contributes to setting priorities for the whole school council meetings in which the elected year group representative meets with the headteacher, members of the senior leadership team and other interested (or appropriate) parties, depending on the agenda items. The council has made several important changes to the school and maintain a dialogue between students and school leadership.
In the pastoral curriculum, in Years 7, 9 and 11 there are units of study which explicitly cover school council, democracy, voting, government and justice. Furthermore, issues concerning democracy are regularly discussed in our Friday morning pastoral input which addresses items recently raised in the news. In Year 12, the History A level also examines British democracies in change. In English ‘Chinese Cinderella’, a novel in Year 8 and ‘Boy Overboard’ a novel in Year 7 explore rights and responsibilities.
The Rule of Law
The importance of rules is routinely impressed upon the pupils, who have a clear appreciation of the role of good behaviour and respect for authority. In the pastoral curriculum, law is discussed through a focus on personal responsibility (all year groups), rights and responsibilities (all year groups), and the impact of substance abuse (Years 8, 9 and 11). The role and use (or abuse) of the law is also discussed in the Humanities subjects, such as RE, History and Geography. This is done in History through the study of Medieval History and the Magna Carta (Year 7), Crime and Punishment in Year 8 and wherever it appears through thematic study of various historical issues. Similarly, the aims and morals of punishment (including the morality of capital punishment) are studied at length in RE (Year 11) and moral decision-making is studied in Year 9. The impact of the law and government policies upon environmental issues are taught as appropriate throughout the Geography curriculum. In year 9 English the study of ‘Heroes’ raises questions about taking the law into your own hands, and the consequences of too much personal freedom.
Liberty, and the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with such a right, are studied in the pastoral curriculum, with particular regard to internet safety and internet abuse, as covered in Year 7, 8, 10 and 11. This is furthered routinely reinforced in the study of ICT, particularly in Year 7 where the rules of internet use and the dangers of cyberbullying are investigated. Children’s rights are covered in the Year 7, 8 and 9 pastoral scheme, including what abuse is and how it can be reported. Liberty is covered in History through the study of the feudal system and Black Peoples of America unit (Year 8), Nazi Germany (Years 10 and 11) and the Holocaust (Year 9). Social justice and freedoms are explored in RE in Year 8 through the study of poverty and CAFOD.
Respect is at the heart of the Christian message as we are all created in the image of God. Our SRE curriculum underpins the conviction that we must respect each other’s bodies and values, even where they differ from our own. These values are expressed and reinforced continuously through our acts of worship and assemblies programme. In the pastoral curriculum Year 7 study manners bullying, friendships and respectful relationships. In Year 8 pupils study respectful relationships and diversity under catholic Church teaching and the Equal Opportunities Act, Y9 exlpored themes connected to bullying and cyberbullying as well as marriage and and Year 10 examines romantic and long-lasting loving relationships. Immigration is studied in History (Year 9), and the beliefs that we are made in God’s image and that human life is sacred are studied in RE (Years 7 and 10). The Year 10 and 11 poetry anthology in English is based on the theme of conflict.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Pupils are encouraged to accept differences between one another and seek to understand differing beliefs. Understanding of different faiths is promoted through the study of other religions in the RE curriculum. Hinduism (Year 7), Judaism (Year 8) and Islam (Year 9) are explored as differing belief systems and we hope to promote not only tolerance but respect for other people’s beliefs in the transcendent. Similarly, pupils are encouraged to recognise and show tolerance towards those with no belief in a deity and are expected, as part of the discipline of the RE course, to be able to fairly represent these views. In English ‘Boy Overboard’, a Year 7 novel, explores life in Afghanistan, as well as the year 8 novel ‘Chinese Cinderella’ which explores a clash of cultures. Within History the impact of the Reformation, the reign of Elizabeth I and the effects of intolerance (on both sides of the religious debate) are covered in Year 7. Furthermore, terrorism, extremism and radicalisation and their effects are discussed in Year 9 History and the Year 8 pastoral curriculum.
More information is available for Parents, Teachers and Governors from the DfE and Home Office (linked to this article).