We are all God’s children and will try to live, love, work and serve as Jesus taught us
– St Joseph’s School Mission Statement
Promoting British Values at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
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The DfE 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 2001 Prevent Strategy, which was designed to prevent the extremism and religious radicalisation of young people.
The promotion of British values is central to Catholic education because British values have their origin in the Christian values of our nation. “We are proud that Catholic schools promote values that are both Catholic and British. Our schools promote cohesion by serving more ethnically diverse and poorer communities. Catholic schools provide high standards of education which are popular with parents from all social, economic and faith backgrounds” – Paul Barber (Catholic Education Service 15th December 2014)
At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School we uphold and teach pupils about British Values which are defined as:-
Rule of law
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
These values are taught through our Religious Education and also through our broad, balanced curriculum. Our commitment to these values is noted in our recent Ofsted inspection and Diocesan Validation.
At St Joseph’s we have regular collective worship. We also have structures such as our successful elected Mini Vinnies team. The values are reinforced regularly in the following ways:-
Democracy is important here at St Joseph’s and pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our Mini Vinnies Team. Members of the team are elected based on pupil votes. Votes may also be used by a class when deciding, for example, which book to read.
Pupil voice is also heard through regular “Pupil Conferencing”, such as the annual “Anti-bullying Week”, the whole school pupil survey on safety and behaviour, or the summer survey on learning, linked to the school improvement plan.
The school also seizes any opportunities offered such as a visit from a parliamentary officer who led workshops on democracy and the workings of our government.
Meanwhile in the curriculum children learn about the origins of democracy when learning about the ancient Greeks – although having slaves and no votes for women could be debated!!
The Rule of Law
Pupils at St Joseph’s are taught about the school rules from an early age. These include golden rules, playground rules and safety rules. We teach our children the reasons behind rules and laws, that they are there to protect and govern us, and also the consequences of breaking the rules.
“Pupils follow the school’s ‘golden rules’ without needing reminding” – Ofsted 2015
To encourage and promote good behaviour we have a reward system which is followed throughout the school. Rewards include house points, stickers, certificates and Head Teacher Awards. We also operate a card system, with green cards given for good behaviour which get entered into a raffle to win a prize. One of our most popular rewards is our “Buxton Best Break” whereby two children are chosen by the teachers from each class to go to the local park with the headteacher.
Pupils here at St Joseph’s know that they are in a safe, secure and supported environment and this encourages their self esteem and self confidence to develop. They are encouraged to make choices and to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms, and how to exercise these safely through our PSHE and E-Safety lessons. One of our values here at the school is “to provide an environment in which the dignity of each person as a child of God is recognised and developed; and to promote the full potential of each child through a curriculum which develops spiritual, academic, social and emotional growth”
“Staff supervise pupils very carefully at all times. The school keeps pupils safe from the adjoining road and public areas. Pupils show a good understanding of how to keep themselves and each other safe” – Ofsted 2015
“The school keeps pupils safe from bullying and other forms of poor behavior” – Ofsted 2015
“The school promotes E-safety very well. Pupils are aware of the importance of keeping safe when online. They have a very strong understanding of key ways to avoid risk” – Ofsted 2015
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values here at St Joseph’s. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of our school community treat each other with respect.
In a recent curriculum enrichment week the whole school focus was on Pope Francis’ Papal Encyclical “Laudato Si”, which teaches us respect for God’s creation and for each other.
“Pupils are courteous and well behaved. They concentrate well on their learning, especially when teachers make their expectations clear” – Ofsted 2015
“The ethos of St Joseph’s permeates all aspects of school life and provides many opportunities that contribute to pupils’ outstanding spiritual and moral development. Respect, care and value of and for the individual are key features of the life of the school” – Diocesan Validation Report
Tolerance of Those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Our Religious Education lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others.
We view RE as a core subject and part of the RE programme of study is other faiths. We have arranged visits from representatives from other faiths, such as the Jewish Council to explain belief and practice to the children. During our enrichment week in February 2015, the children explored and compared other faiths through food, art, literature and other experiential activities. Autumn 2015 saw a focus on creation stories from other beliefs and cultures and how these compared with our Christian beliefs.
“The school strongly prepares pupils for life in modern Britain. It develops pupils’ understanding of different cultures and faiths very well” – Ofsted 2015
“The school develops children’s appreciation of the wider world exceptionally well” – Ofsted 2015
Here at St Joseph’s School we want our pupils to be proud of their British heritage. The cultural and historic traditions of this country are renowned throughout the world. We celebrate festivals such as Harvest, Christmas and Easter and recognise occasions such as Remembrance Day and Royal events. Classes use the Espresso learning site to watch and discuss relevant current news videos and topics in an age appropriate format. This often includes matters of politics, British tradition, democracy and aspects of other faiths and cultures. We hope that our children will become good citizens and will respect all others regardless of any differences.
Have a look below to see additional examples of how we are promoting British values here at school. This section will be regularly updated.
General Election in Year 6
We were all very interested in the General Election that was happening in our country. We had been learning about the subjunctive in English, so wrote ‘If I were Prime Minister’. We looked at the manifestos for each of the parties and were then given the chance to vote using a voting slip and putting our vote in the ballot box.
As a class, we voted for Liberal Democrats. We learnt the following morning that Conservatives had won the election.
On May 3rd, we welcomed Roz Birch who works for our UK Parliament as a schools’ officer. Roz came and led an assembly on the importance of democracy and followed up with two sessions for Years 4 and 5. Two of our Year 5 pupils wrote this account of the day:
‘On Tuesday the 3rd of May, Roz from the Parliament Education Services came into St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School. She did an assembly on the Houses of Parliament and what goes on inside. She told us that every law starts off as a Bill in the House of Commons. Once the Bill has been debated and there is a majority vote it gets passed onto the House of Lords. After the House of Lords agree with the Bill they pass it onto the Queen. She then signs the Bill and makes it an official law for the whole country.
‘Year 5 had a workshop with Roz and we did a timeline about democracy and who was allowed to vote and when. The next thing we did was talk about the future of voting in the UK. Then we had a debate about whether 13- year-olds and up should be allowed to vote. We had a Speaker. The Speaker’s job was to choose people to state their opinion on the matter and to keep everyone quiet when they were not stating their opinion.
To conclude our session with Roz we voted on the subject of our debate. The majority of the class voted against. We hope the June elections go well!’
Written by Daisy and Emma, Year 5.
Remembrance Day 11th November
Every year we commemorate Remembrance Day with a liturgy, as well as Year 6 children helping to sell poppies for the Royal British Legion.
We observed the silence and listened to the Last Post.
Democracy in Year 6
One of the things we were looking forward to the most about being in Year 6 was being a house captain. However, it wouldn’t just be given to us, we had to give a speech and then be elected in!
The Headteacher started with an assembly about democracy and what it means for us. The whole school split into the four house teams, where those who wanted to be a house captain had to give a speech to the rest of the children in their house, before everyone had a vote, which was put into a special box to be counted.
The children representing their houses are:
St Matthew: Chloe and Matias
St Mark: Florence and Jack
St Luke: Tom and Chester
St John: Harrison and Nahla