You might be familiar with the phrase ‘Fundamental British Values’. This is the phrase used by schools to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of their pupils. Through ensuring pupils’ SMSC development, schools can also demonstrate they are actively promoting fundamental British values.
Although it can be difficult to pin point the values that makes someone British, there are certain characteristics that we should all be proud of and would want to pass over to the next generation. The values of democracy, individual liberty, mutual respect and the tolerance of people of different faiths and none are certain beliefs that do make us special and should be something we are proud of.
Over the course of a year we have many different activities which help to support our fundamental British values. Underpinning this is our assembly timetable which provides a focus for all of our staff and pupils so that over the year they will receive information about all of the values. For example in May pupils are learning about democracy, finding out about the institutions we have which promote democracy and how democracy works internationally. In June pupils will be learning about mutual respect and how to deal with the differences we find in and outside of school.
As well as through assemblies, fundamental British values are promoted through personal, social and health education (PSHE) providing lesson time for pupils to explore the ideas in more depth, appreciating these special characteristics.
Since using these strategies to promote these values we have found that our pupils are more able to discuss issues that are of concern to them. In school we have had class discussions about refugees, the European referendum and the recent terrorist attacks in Europe. All of this allows our pupils to have a voice and articulate what it means to be British.
Through these discussions we have worked out that these fundamental British values are not just British traits but traits of good human beings. That is why the main document that supports the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils is the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child. The work from this document runs through our school like a stick of rock and allows us to recognise the important human values that can help the whole planet.
As a short piece of homework, ask your child about fundamental British values, what can they tell you?