How the teaching and learning of British Values looks at The Dales School

In June 2014 the DfE 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.”

At The Dales School, we want all of our children to grow up with the values which will help them to contribute effectively to the wider community during and following their school years.

We are an inclusive school and our life values influence all that we do. We operate a life-skills system which reinforces the values at the centre of The Dales School family. These values are:

  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Resilience
  • Team Work
  • Honesty
  • Kindness

These life values, alongside our school rules of ‘ready, safe and kind’  are integral to learning at The Dales School. They are shared with our school community and are displayed around school.

At The Dales School we promote the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law,  individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. These values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:

Democracy – We all have the chance to help make decisions

At The Dales School the voice of the child is paramount, they are listened to and valued. Children have the power to make choices throughout their day, whether this be voting on which storybook to read or which fruit to have at snack time. Children choose which song to sing at music time and choose which choice activity they will take part in.  We encourage the children to voice their opinion about their school environment and activities, and children take part in creating and following the school and class rules.

We actively encourage the children to take part in healthy debates about key aspects of school and community life, themes include environmental issues and changes to playtime. We have an established school council who meet regularly to discuss school matters. Children are elected onto the school council by using various ballot systems appropriate to the children in the class.   The school council genuinely affects change throughout the school.

Pupil questionnaires and interviews are also conducted throughout the year and children take part in decisions in school such as how we organise our story book vending machine.

Pupils in our school also have the opportunity to effect change in their school by contributing to policy and practices within the school. Children have been involved in changes to our RSHE curriculum and in our behaviour and attitudes policy.  We empower all of our children to all have a voice, to achieve this we use a variety of resources to ensure all spoken language is being reinforced including simplification of spoken language, use of visual support and use of AAC (Augmentative, Alternative communication), for example, Makaton, PECS and symbols. This ensures that all children, verbal or nonverbal, have a voice at The Dales School.

The Rule of Law – We all follow the rules       

Our children will encounter rules and laws throughout their entire lives. We want our children to understand that whether these laws govern the class, the school, the community or the country, they are set for good reasons and must be adhered to.  The involvement of our children in the creation of our school rules, that are fair and reasonable, helps them to understand the reasons behind the rules and the consequences if they are broken. Our school rules are ‘ready, kind and safe’ and these reflect the rules of society. The understanding of the importance of rules will be consistently reinforced through our curriculum. In individual classes, children discuss various rules in society and the importance of following them. Throughout the year we also welcome visits from members of the wider community including police, the fire brigade and many more, this helps to reinforce this message.

Individual Liberty – We all have the opportunity to make our own choices

Enhancing the self esteem and confidence of our children through the curriculum and the day as a whole is an important element of what we do at The Dales.

Within school, children are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries that support our children to make choices safely. We encourage risk taking in a safe environment, for example climbing on obstacle courses.

Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our RSHE/PSHCE and life skills curriculum. Pupils are also encouraged to understand responsibility in school in terms of behaviour and attitude to learning.

Our curriculum and daily offer is to support the children to explore and manage their feelings.  This includes helping children to identify their emotion and offer tools and resources on how to manage this emotion appropriately. Children are encouraged to express themselves through art and music and we use stories to explore differences and celebrate our uniqueness.

Our activities give children opportunities to choose different approaches to their learning for example choosing different methods or resources to solve calculations in maths.  The class environments enable children to make choices about which activity to partake in and which one engages them the most.  We offer a range of ‘Connect Clubs’ which children have the freedom to choose from, based on their interests.

Mutual Respect and tolerance  – We all respect one another and accept each other’s differences.

Mutual respect is at the core of our school life. Respect (kindness) is one of school values and core rules in school. Children learn to treat each other, staff, themselves and their environment with respect. This is evident when walking around our school. Relationships are key in school and our relational approach encourages respect for one another.

Our culture is that of inclusivity and tolerance where children are taught to respect other people’s views and opinions, even when they differ from their own.  Our life skills curriculum encourages this throughout the school day. We celebrate other faiths, including celebrations and festivals, and use stories to reflect a diverse community. Our resources support diversity and challenge stereotypes.

Where appropriate we offer children the opportunity to learn more about different conditions and needs such as ADHD and this supports their understanding of themselves and of others around them.

Children across school work alongside each other in various activities such reading, art and music activities.  We run specific activities around turn taking, sharing and conversation making.  Children are encouraged to be open about their likes and dislikes with others and share with their peers their interests and hobbies.

We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education and PSHCE based activities reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others and we regularly include opportunities to learn about people from different backgrounds into our curriculum planning. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Where possible, children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths and explore the key teachings of the religions.  Resources, such as books and artefacts, are used openly in school to help children reflect on other faiths and beliefs.

Through our curriculum, school values and the routines of our daily school life, we strive to demonstrate tolerance and help children to become knowledgeable and understanding citizens who show respect to others.

View examples of British Values at The Dales School here