Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
The DfE reinforce the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. At St Mary’s, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Each year the children in each class decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the rules.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The council has its own budget and is able to genuinely effect change within the school. All council members for each year group are voted in by their class.
We also have a very active Pupil Chaplain team who support the children to explore their spiritual needs. This team also has a small budget and their own action plan.
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help us to reinforce this message.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our RE and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, of how they record, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Throughout the year we reinforce that mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with kindness, love and respect.
St Mary’s is situated in an area which is not particularly culturally diverse, therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit and learn about places of worship that are important to different faiths.
At St Mary’s we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.
Following Boris Johnson’s 8pm announcement we now know that as of midnight tonight the country has entered a new period of Lockdown, a Lockdown that includes the closure of school.
School will be open for the children of Key Workers and for pupils who are deemed vulnerable. All pupils will be provided with work in order for them to keep learning.
Tonight’s announcement was very short notice for you as parents and also for us as a Staff. Tomorrow, by 11am there will be three tasks on the school website for each Class to complete as their Tuesday learning. However, School will be closed to ALL pupils tomorrow.
Staff, however, will be in school preparing for the rest of the Lockdown. Through tomorrow we will prepare school to make it safe for Key worker pupils and vulnerable children to return.
We will send out a form for you to apply for a place in the Keyworker Bubbles and we will let you know more about how children will be learning remotely. We will do our very best to re-open to Key Worker children and vulnerable pupils by Wednesday.
I am aware of how difficult this is for you all, School closing creates a multitude of problems for everyone but data surrounding this awful disease dictates that this is a necessary step. As ever, the safety and health of everyone must be a priority.
Thank you for your continued support and we will be in frequent contact over the next few days.