All local maintained schools have a duty to ‘actively 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 first set out by the government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011. At William Murdoch Primary School these values are reinforced regularly in order to ensure our pupils develop a strong sense of social and moral responsibility which will prepare them for life in modern Britain. This is done in the following ways:-
All year groups are taught about democracy, including the British parliament and the role of MPs, within the curriculum. At the start of each academic year children vote for their class representatives through an election process. Our School Council ensure that all children are given the opportunity to vote on certain aspects of school life throughout the year.
At William Murdoch Primary School, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices in the safe and secure environment of the school. 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 are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. An example of this is when the health caravan comes to school, the children are taught about the dangers of commonly available drugs and illegal drugs and the safe choices they should make with regard to these substances.
Pupils are given the freedom to make a wide range of choices from attending extra-curricular clubs to supporting fund raising events.
As a school we hold mutual respect at the heart of our values. Adults actively model respect with one another, and with the children, in how we speak and treat one another and all members of our community are taught to treat each other with respect. Mutual respect is promoted through our Behaviour Policy and the system of rewards and consequences, ensuring that this is a theme which runs through the natural environment of the school. For example, we mark Anti-Bullying Week every year, where different types of bullying including cyber-bullying are discussed.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
William Murdoch Primary School is situated in an area which is culturally diverse; therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. Religious Education lessons and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. This is further reinforced through festival assemblies which address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Pupils are given opportunities to visit different places of worship throughout their schooling.
British Values through the Curriculum
Within our curriculum there are planned opportunities to teach the values of our society. Some examples are:
How we influence democracy is explored though PSHE and RE lessons (Inspirational People topic). This includes looking at historical figures such as Nelson Mandela and Gandhi and exploring the effectiveness of different approaches. The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country are consistently reinforced at the school. 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 workshops and PSHE lessons.
Our knowledge-rich curriculum covers a range of historical periods e.g. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Victorians, Tudors etc. The People in History project and ensuing assembly enables pupils to understand British values and how they promote equality and multiculturalism and how history has shaped British society today.
The teaching of Geography within the knowledge-rich curriculum enables children to have a better understanding of what Britain is, learning more about its capital cities and counties, its rivers and mountains, where Britain is in relation to the rest of Europe and other countries in the world.
Religious, Moral & Spiritual Education
This covers key religions represented in the UK. Planning for the subject is directed by the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) – Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. All children have the opportunity to visit places of worship that are important to different to faiths. William Murdoch Primary School actively promotes diversity of different faiths and cultures through festival assemblies and celebrations, religious symbols displayed in classes and our annual Cultural Evening of Entertainment.
Promotion of the concept of “fair play”, following and developing rules, inclusion, celebrating and rewarding success through sports assemblies, being noble in defeat and participation in activities that promote kinship and affiliation with others.
Children are also taught about respect and bullying in the online world through curriculum based lessons as well as dedicated e-safety lessons and workshops.
Our broad range of educational visits and experiences outside of the classroom prepare our children with the skills to make a positive contribution to their community as equal citizens, as well as being able to look at British heritage in more depth. This includes visits to Birmingham Museum, Black Country Museum, Stratford-upon-Avon, neighbourhood walks and our links with the Handsworth Historical Society and Soho Museum.
The school participates in a number of charity events to raise money for worthwhile causes. For example, support for natural disasters e.g. earthquakes, hurricanes, Children in Need, Poppy Appeal, Christmas Jumper Day, Cancer Research, Comic and Sport Relief. Harvest gifts are collated and distributed in the autumn term to local food banks and homeless shelters.