SMSC and Fundamental British Values – A Parent Guide

Colchester High School promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our students through a variety of ways.  In summary, we aim to provide:

  • A balanced and rich curriculum. Pupils are encouraged to engage with the wider world and think about their place within it;
  • Opportunities for pupils to actively engage with the democratic process, for example School Councils playing a part in decision making at school;
  • A PSHCE curriculum which enables pupils to discuss issues beyond academic study, and which equips them with life skills;
  • A varied assembly programme through which teachers and visitors present topics which help pupils to reflect upon themes which help foster an understanding of different cultural traditions, appreciate British culture, and understand right and wrong;
  • Enrichment across the whole school which includes sporting, academic, musical, and other cultural opportunities.
  • In developing our provision of SMSC, we also ensure that the promotion of fundamental British Values is fully embedded in the school ethos and curriculum.

For further details of how Colchester High School promotes fundamental British values, please see below/

Fundamental British Values

Colchester High School places great importance on promoting the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs*. In line with the guidance provided by the Department for Education, Colchester High School views this as a way of also helping to demonstrate how the school meets the requirements of section 78 of the Education Act 2002, in the provision of SMSC.

By promoting these values, staff and pupils feel empowered to challenge opinions or behaviours in school which are contrary to fundamental British values. Through the provision of SMSC, Colchester High School aims to:

  • enable pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England;
  • encourage pupils 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 pupils 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 pupils 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.

(as taken and adapted from ‘Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools’ – DfE Nov 2014)

Please see below for details about how we teach FBV in the classroom.

*The Prevent strategy 2011: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prevent-strategy-2011

Fundamental British Values in Early Years Foundation Stage

The fundamental British values of Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs are already implicitly embedded in the 2014 Early Years Foundation Stage.

Democracy: Making Decisions Together

As part of the focus on self-confidence and self-awareness as cited in Personal, Social and Emotional Development:

  • Staff can encourage children to see their role in the bigger picture, encouraging children to know their views count, value each other’s views and values and talk about their feelings, for example when they do or do not need help. When appropriate demonstrate democracy in action, for example, children sharing views on what the theme of their role play area could be with a show of hands.
  • Staff can support the decisions that children make and provide activities that involve turn-taking, sharing and collaboration. Children should be given opportunities to develop enquiring minds in an atmosphere where questions are valued.

Rule of Law: Understanding Rules Matter as cited in Personal Social and Emotional Development

As part of the focus on managing feelings and behaviour:

  • Staff can ensure that children understand their own and others’ behaviour and its consequences, and learn to distinguish right from wrong.
  • Staff can collaborate with children to create the rules and the codes of behaviour, for example, to agree the rules about tidying up and ensure that all children understand rules apply to everyone.

Individual Liberty: Freedom For All

As part of the focus on self-confidence & self-awareness and people & communities as cited in Personal Social and Emotional development and Understanding the World:

  • Children should develop a positive sense of themselves. Staff can provide opportunities for children to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and increase their confidence in their own abilities, for example through allowing children to take risks on an obstacle course, mixing colours, talking about their experiences and learning.
  • Staff should encourage a range of experiences that allow children to explore the language of feelings and responsibility, reflect on their differences and understand we are free to have different opinions, for example in a small group discuss what they feel about transferring into Reception Class.

Mutual Respect and Tolerance for those with Different Faiths and Beliefs: Treat Others as you want to be treated

As part of the focus on people & communities, managing feelings & behaviour and making relationships as cited in Personal Social and Emotional development and Understanding the World:

  • Managers and leaders should create an ethos of inclusivity and tolerance where views, faiths, cultures and races are valued and children are engaged with the wider community.
  • Children should acquire a tolerance and appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures; know about similarities and differences between themselves and others and among families, faiths, communities, cultures and traditions and share and discuss practices, celebrations and experiences.
  • Staff should encourage and explain the importance of tolerant behaviours such as sharing and respecting other’s opinions.
  • Staff should promote diverse attitudes and challenge stereotypes, for example, sharing stories that reflect and value the diversity of children’s experiences and providing resources and activities that challenge gender, cultural and racial stereotyping.

What is not acceptable is:

  • Actively promoting intolerance of other faiths, cultures and races.
  • Failure to challenge gender stereotypes and routinely segregate girls and boys.
  • Isolating children from their wider community.
  • Failure to challenge behaviours (whether of staff, children or parents) that are not in line with the fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.

Fundamental British Values in the Lower School

Democracy

At CHS Lower School, democracy is a core part of the school’s life. In the Prep and Junior departments children learn how democracy works by voting for school councillors for each year group and running the school council meetings on a democratic basis to make sure that the pupil voice is listened to and that children’s views are part of the decision-making process in school. Surveys and questionnaires are carried out to ensure that the pupil voice is listened to about matters directly affecting the children, for example which new equipment should be bought for the playground. Voting takes place for Junior House and Sports Captains and for the Head Girl and Boy each year. National events are used as opportunities to teach democracy with reference to real life situations, for example, the General Election, the state opening of Parliament and the story of Guy Fawkes. The PSHCE curriculum includes lessons about what MPs do, how Parliament works and in History, the study of Ancient Greece in Year 4 explores the origins of democracy. The parent association, the CHSA, is a democratically run organisation which provides the opportunity for pupils to organise and run stalls at the Christmas bazaar and the Summer fete.

The Rule of Law

Our Lower School Code of Conduct, classroom rules  and a broad system of rewards and sanctions mean that pupils understand how there are rights and wrongs which must be understood and that we must all behave according to the rules in school. From an early age, children learn about people who help us in society. We encourage children to respect the roles of people who help us and this is supported by visits from organisations such as the Armed Forces, Police, Health Services, the Life Boat Service and the Fire Service, in both Prep and Juniors. The eSafety awareness which is taught as part of the Computing curriculum and in PSHCE is an important part of teaching children about the core value of “the rule of law” and how it is there to protect us. The system of having Prefects appointed in Year 6 allows peer role models to demonstrate how to put good behaviour into practice. In the Prep Department a Form Leader/Star is appointed each week to help develop responsibility and confidence. The prefects are given responsibilities within school which further support an ethos of following rules for the good of the whole school community. Enrichment activities last year included a visit to the local law court by the Junior School Councillors and Year 6 took part in “Crucial Crew” a multi-agency event for schools which included sessions about knife crime, anti-social behaviour, eSafety, fire safety and the dangers of alcohol and smoking.

Individual Liberty

CHS Lower School promotes choices for its pupils and aims to equip pupils with the tools needed to be responsible individuals. Form Teachers encourage independence and support pupils as they grow more able to make their own decisions. From their earliest days in the Lower School children are taught how to choose activities, listen to others, share and express their views. There are many extra-curricular clubs on offer in the Lower School and this is an important part of learning to be an individual and having the freedom to choose new activities in the safe environment of school. In PSHCE lessons, assemblies and form times, pupils learn about human rights, hear the life stories of some inspirational individuals and are encouraged to think about what makes a good role model. Pupils complete a one page pupil profile in school, which gives them the opportunity to reflect on their personal strengths and interests and to think about what would help them to achieve their goals. Speakers are invited into school, and this has included former pupils who have gone on to undertake an individual challenge and can inspire others to believe in themselves.

Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

Our school’s motto, “God first, others second, self last” supports an ethos of mutual respect. In assemblies, form times and PSHE lessons the principles of treating others with respect, listening to each other’s views and striving to do one’s best support these values. At CHS pupils are taught that prejudice-based or any other form of bullying should not be tolerated and pupils are taught how to treat all individuals fairly whilst acknowledging that everyone is different. At CHS we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody and we also value and celebrate being part of Britain. In school assemblies  we celebrate traditions, including events such as the Harvest festival during the Autumn term, when a collection of donations for the charity Food Bank takes place and further instils the value of respecting and supporting others who may be in need. Remembrance Day is always marked with a reflective assembly.  In December, a trip to the local theatre’s pantomime is a highlight which reflects a British tradition, whilst at Chinese New Year, the traditions of China are shared in assembly.

The curriculum covers all the major world religions. The programme of assemblies includes coverage and celebration of a range of religious festivals and cultural events throughout the year. In class, children are welcomed to share their personal knowledge of faith and culture and there are often opportunities for pupils to visit different religious places of worship as part of their curriculum. CHS has a close link with the Colchester Baptist Church and this has included a Prayer space week annually during which all the Lower School could explore spiritually and reflect on themes such as forgiveness, compassion and hope, from different perspectives. Children have the opportunity to take part in curriculum events which enable them to sample food from different cultures, to explore music from different cultures, create artwork based on a range of cultural influences and the English curriculum includes the study of literature from different cultural heritages.

Charities are supported in school throughout the year and these include both local and national causes. Speakers come into school to explain how these charities help other which underpins the fundamental British value of mutual respect and tolerance.

Fundamental British Values in the Senior School

The list below shows the understanding and knowledge expected of Senior School pupils as a result of the way in which Colchester High School promotes fundamental British values:

  • an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process – as shown through ‘mock elections’, assemblies, School Council, Charities Council, Pupil Conferencing, outside speakers, aspects of the curriculum, and other pupil driven democracy related projects;
  • an appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety – as covered through aspects of the curriculum and assemblies;
  • an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence – covered in ‘mock elections’, specific trips, aspect of the curriculum and assemblies;
  • an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law – aspects of the curriculum and assemblies;
  • an acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour – through aspects of the curriculum, assemblies, outside speakers, specific trips and through open use of the school motto; and
  • an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination – as covered through promoting the school ethos, assemblies, the pupil code of conduct and implementation of other key school policies.