Promoting British Values & The Prevention of Radicalisation at Grace Dieu through our Gospel Values
The Department of Education have recently reinforced 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, more recently in in its Guidance (July 2015) and these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister(s) this year. At Grace Dieu these values are rooted in the School’s Mission Statement[i] (Learning and growing in the light of the Gospel) and are regularly reinforced in the following ways:
At Grace Dieu democracy is taken very seriously from our Nursery all the way through to Year 6. Children are actively encouraged to have a voice in their School and to share their views and opinions. Our active School Council is one such example. Every September we have an election week when the candidates for Class Representatives on the School Council deliver their election manifesto to the rest of their Year Group. A secret ballot ensues and the results are announced in a special assembly. The children enjoy this process and have great respect for the outcomes. The School Council Representatives (2 per year group from Years 3 to Year 6, as well as Head Boy and Head Girl) meet every half-term in order to take the ideas from the various year groups to the Council meetings for discussion.
The children also contribute their ideas to the creation of their own Anti-Bullying Poster having ratified the School’s Anti Bullying Policy.
This sets ground rules for classroom conduct and establishes the standards of behaviour children can expect from each other over the year ahead. Children also have the opportunity to contribute to the ‘Suggestion Box’, centrally located in the ‘Hub’, which provides them with the opportunity to share their views of School Life at Grace Dieu and suggest ways in which the School could be further improved.
Staff in all parts of the School talk regularly to children, lead by way of example and practice, listen to the views of children as a way of ensuring that School Self-evaluation, monitoring and implementation of the values we hold dear are embedded, observable, robust and accurate, and therefore effective in moving the School forward.
The Rule of Law
The importance of rules/laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the School, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the School day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through School Assemblies. Children are taught the value of and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when rules/laws are broken. Our School Rules, Marking Policy, and Anti-Bullying Policy are displayed in all classrooms or are referred to regularly and consistently. Visits from local authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message in Special Assemblies and throughout the PSHCE and RE Curriculum. We also invite organisations like TenTen Theatre into School to address these issues.
Within School, children are actively encouraged to make decisions and choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a School, we educate and provide boundaries for young children to take risks and make choices safely. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our Internet-Safety Day and PSHCE lessons. Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, how they record their learning, participation in one of our many extra-curricular clubs and ‘out of classroom’ opportunities, children are given the freedom to make choices and make decisions.
As a Catholic School rooted in the Values of the Gospel, mutual respect is at the heart of our ethos. Children learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of Grace Dieu’s School Community treat each other with respect. One of our School Aims[ii] captures this aspiration:
To be a School in which pupils can grow and develop with confidence; where children and adults alike respond to the ethos of faith, encouragement and praise, which is the hallmark of the education at Grace Dieu
Tolerance of Those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
At Grace Dieu, 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 PSHCE teaching reinforces this. Each year the children explore a world faith alongside their learning about Christianity. By the time they leave us, all children have learnt about the beliefs and practices of people of the following world faiths; Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the School. There are also a number of School Trips to a variety of Faith Centres.
At Grace Dieu, we will actively challenge children, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including those expressing ‘extremist’ views. This takes place through our shared worship time, our lessons and our day to day interaction with one another.
PREVENTING RADICALISATION AND EXTREMISM
Radicalisation is defined as the act or process of making a person more radical or favouring of extreme or fundamental changes in political, economic or social conditions, institutions or habits of the mind.
Extremism is defined as the holding of extreme political or religious views.
The Governing Body and Staff of Grace Dieu has a zero-tolerance approach to extremist behaviour for all School Community members. We rely on our strong values, anchored in the Gospel, to guide our work, our beliefs and our behaviour, and to ensure the Pastoral Care of our children protects them from exposure to negative and damaging influences.
Grace Dieu is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all its children. As a School we recognise that safeguarding against radicalisation is no different from safeguarding against any other vulnerability. All staff are expected to uphold and promote the fundamental principles of British values, including democracy, fairness, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
- Children are encouraged to adopt and live out our Core Values. These complement the key “British Values” of tolerance, respect, understanding, compassion and harmonious living.
- Children are helped to understand the importance of democracy and freedom of speech, through assemblies and class discussions and through the elected School Council members.
- Children are taught how to keep themselves safe, in School and when using the internet.
- Children participate in local and international community fund-raising events through the School Council, so that they appreciate and value their neighbours and friends who may not share their faith background.
- Children’s wellbeing, confidence and resilience is promoted through our planned curriculum and extra-curricular learning opportunities on the Stage, in the Chapel or on the Sports Field.
- Children are supported in making good choices from a very young age, so they understand the impact and consequences of their actions on themselves and on others.
THE ROLE OF THE CURRICULUM
Our curriculum, including our EYFS Curriculum, promotes respect, tolerance and diversity. Children are encouraged to express themselves through discussions, debates and consultations. The RE (Religious Education), PSHCE (Personal, Social and Health and Citizenship Education), and SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) provision is embedded across the curriculum, and underpins the ethos of our School. Children learn about all major faiths and visit places of worship wherever possible. They are also taught about how to stay safe when using the internet. This is evidenced throughout Grace Dieu by our planning, our lessons and outcomes of children’s work, and by the great variety of activities on offer both in and out of the classroom. We have begun using a PSHCE Grid this Academic Year, which allows us to better quantify and record these events.
Although incidents involving radicalisation have not occurred at Grace Dieu to date, it is important for us to be constantly vigilant and remain fully informed about the issues which affect the region in which we teach. Staff are reminded to suspend any professional disbelief that instances of radicalisation ‘could not happen here’ and to refer any concerns through the Child Protection/ Safeguarding Lead Teachers.
(Updated August 2016)
[i] See Full Mission Statement on Whole School Policy tab
[ii] See School Aims on Whole School Policy tab