At Sir John Lawes School, we are dedicated to promoting values which ensure our pupils develop a strong sense of social and moral responsibility, and which prepare the young people at the school for life in modern Britain. Values such as individual liberty, democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are embedded in the school’s ACE (Achievement Care Excellence) ethos, but are also promoted in a variety of ways throughout the school year.
A full evaluation of this provision is underway, but here are some examples of some of the ways British Values are promoted at Sir John Lawes:
- The Life Skills curriculum teaches all these values and Mr Fernandez is in the process of creating new, discrete units of work to promote British Values and teach the challenges of life in modern Britain. However, students already learn about many of these values through the Life Skills and General Studies curriculum. In addition, regular enrichment events such as the Mock Trial Competition promote democracy and the rule of the law to Years 9 and upwards, and the annual Model United Nations Assembly – as part of the school’s International Enrichment Day – promotes respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
- Other subject areas also promote these values within their existing curriculum, and R.E., History, Geography, MFL and English in particular. Two examples of the ways these values are promoted can be found in the Year 9 English curriculum and the Year 8 R.S. curriculum. In Year 9 English, pupils study either Nineteen Eighty-Four or Animal Farm and a significant part of the process is the engagement with the social contexts, including the impact of extremist views and totalitarian states. In Year 8 Religious Studies, pupils study attitudes to prejudice and discrimination, promoting tolerance of different cultures and the benefits of mutual respect.
- Outside of lessons, British Values are promoted throughout the year as part of our pastoral programme. About 6 or 7 times each year, pupils will learn about British Values through assemblies aimed at actively promoting these values, but also through Thought for the Week sessions in tutor groups, where pupils get a chance to lead learning on these topics, and explore what the values are and why they are significant to modern Britain.
- Extra-curricular opportunities also offer plenty of opportunities for pupils to learn about the importance of British Values. Other than the Mock Trial Competition and International Enrichment Day, the weekly 6th form Debating Club explores issues relevant to modern Britain, the Junior Leadership Team and many student voice panels teach students to uphold democracy and appreciate the rule of law, and the varied opportunities embedded in the school’s 21st Century Learning ethos encourage pupils to develop the mindsets and attitudes necessary to adopt core British values.
On balance, British Values are embedded across the school at Sir John Lawes and are integral to our ACE ethos. But we are also keen to find gaps and evaluate the ways in which we promote these more explicitly to students. The school’s rich SMSC provision helps us to do this, and we track and evaluate the ways in which British Values are promoted and linked within the following SMSC strands in particular:
- Recognising right and wrong
- Resolving conflicts
- Understanding and exploring diversity
- Understanding moral codes
- Understanding others’ beliefs
- Understanding how societies and communities function