Ethos and British Values
Being part of Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody who is part of our school community. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions in the course of the year; for example, Harvest festival during the Autumn term, and (what could be more British than) a trip to a pantomime around Christmas time!
Furthermore, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives.
Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
During the year, children will enjoy geography topics that ensures children have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about:
- its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains
- how ‘Great Britain’ differs from ‘England’ and ‘the United Kingdom’
- where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world
During the history topics throughout their time at Waldringfield children learn about an aspect life and how this has developed and changed over time.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Waldringfield Primary School. Democracy is central to how we operate.
An obvious example is our School Council. All children participate in the school council and the roles and responsibilities of facilitator and minute taker are distributed fairly within the Owls class.
The election of the Eco Team members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. It is made up of two representatives from each class; the Eco Team meets half termly to discuss environmental issues raised by the different classes. The Eco Team has its own budget and action plan. Parents are also invited to attend meetings at regular intervals.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school, but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
The Rule of Law
The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices.
At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Class Rules, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves, and the consequences when laws are broken. These values are reinforced in different ways:
- visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
- during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
- during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
- choices about which learning challenge or activity
- choices about how they record their learning
- choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our online-safety and PSHE lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs
Due to the fact that we do not serve an incredibly culturally diverse area, we endeavour at all times to promote and celebrate different backgrounds and beliefs.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our ethos: 'Respect' being the one R word that underpins our whole ethos. Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at Waldringfield Primary School enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:
- through Religious Education, PSHE and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures
- in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example
- enjoying a depth of study during topic lessons, where sometimes we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the world.
- each class watches Newsround daily and participates in assemblies weekly based around world news. The children look forward to Newsround and it provides an understanding of world issues.
Sadly, no school can guarantee that there will never be instances which are contrary to this value. At Waldringfield Primary School , such instances are extremely rare. They are treated seriously in line with our Behaviour, Discipline and Bullying policy.