The Department for Education states that there is a 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".
These values were reiterated by the Prime Minister in 2014 and in the Promoting Fundamental British Values DoE advice November 2014. At The Robert Ogden School these values are reinforced regularly.
British values are taught explicitly through Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship Education (PSHCE), and Religious Education (RE). We also teach British Values through planning and delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.
The school takes opportunities to actively promote British Values through our assemblies and whole school systems and structures, such as electing and running a successful School Parliament. We also actively promote British Values through ensuring our curriculum planning and delivery includes real opportunities for exploring these values. Actively promoting British Values also means challenging pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views in line with the ‘prevent duty’.
At The Robert Ogden School we uphold and teach pupils about the British Values which are defined as:
• Rule of Law
• Individual Liberty
• Mutual Respect
• Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
PSHCE underpins our entire curriculum offer. We teach children and young people to develop values, attitudes, personal and social skills, and increase their knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions and life choices. The themes identified above will be a constant theme, revisited to maintain, consolidate, reinforce and generalise previous learning, as well as introducing new knowledge, skills and understanding. This means repeating themes and work to ensure that the learning is assimilated and understood. Each of the themes above will be developed at different levels over the years. This will not necessarily coincide with age groups but rather with young persons’ cognitive and emotional ability and their maturity.
Democracy is an important value at our school. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Parliament, which supports an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process. The elections of members of the School Parliament and class representative are based on pupil votes. The pupils work together where appropriate to their cognitive ability to agree a set of class or individual rules which they actively work and live by and are used by pupils and adults to influence others’ behaviour.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws and rules, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the regular school day. Our Behaviour System is aligned to a set of codes agreed by the National Autistic Society. The Personalised Support Team work with class teams and individual pupils to develop communication and sensory profiles and, where appropriate, an Individual Behaviour Support Profile (IBSP). This enables all staff to work consistently to support pupils to develop strategies to manage their own behaviour and to develop their ability to access and contribute in a positive way to the school, local and wider community.
Pupils for whom it is appropriate undertake fire safety training, manual handling training, risk assessment training and food hygiene training. This further develops their appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety.
Pupils who are cognitively able are taught the value and reasons behind laws. That they are there to 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 are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message. Pupils who are not at this cognitive ability experience this within the school community daily by the NAS SPELL framework, staff as role models, through collective worship, work around emotional regulation, communication, IBSP strategies and the use of motivators. Pupils are encouraged to recognise positive behaviours that allow everyone to live and work together in a safe and supportive school community. This ensures that they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely.
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 our pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment, support with communication from our Speech and Language Therapist, a planned curriculum and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-safety teaching and PSHE lessons. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, e.g. signing up for enrichment clubs, choose lunch, drinks, snacks, activities at break times, and where appropriate within lessons.
Respect is one of the core values of our school. This can be seen and felt in the pervading ethos in school. The staff and pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have. The core value of respect at The Robert Ogden School underpins our work every day both in and out of the classroom. Pupils and adults alike, including visitors are challenged if they are disrespectful in any way. Values are highly visible around the school and can be seen in posters, certificates and as part of our agreed codes e.g. staff code of conduct.
Tolerance of Those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity in our local community. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudiced-based bullying have been supported by learning in RE and PSHE.
We celebrate as a whole school half termly through Theme Days, encouraging pupils to research and discover differences and similarities between us and other cultures, religions and significant events e.g. our European neighbours. Likewise we use opportunities such as the Olympics and World Cup to study and learn about life and culture in countries who participate. We invite guests, theatre and performance groups in to allow the pupils to experience different cultures e.g. Zulu dancers. We employ teachers, teaching assistants and support staff who bring a varied cultural experience to The Robert Ogden School. All these help pupils develop 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.
We also teach British values through planning and delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.