How do we promote British Values?

What are ‘British values’? The Government has asked all schools to ensure students understand British values. All 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.

Here’s how we do this at Holbrook Academy

Democracy

Pupil voice is at the centre of Academy life. We have a large team of Student Ambassadors, who are enthusiasts for their subjects. We have an elected School Council. We have a large team of Year 11 Prefects and Senior Prefects and of course, our Head Boy and Head Girl. For younger children, we ask older children to act as pastoral ‘Aunts and Uncles’ and mentors to help them in their early years at school – all these roles are embedded in the everyday running of the Academy. These students are active and thoughtful in their roles in Academy improvement and have regular meetings to discuss future plans. For example, the Philosophy, Religion and Ethics ambassadors’ team have organised a PRE afternoon visit from the Ipswich Buddhist Centre and held whole school assemblies.

Throughout the year, students are asked directly for their feedback on different aspects of their school life. This allows the students to express their views effectively and demonstrate the impact of a real platform for expression. All have the right to vote during the election process for new Head Boy and Head Girl each year. We also hold regular debates, mock elections and votes on issues they select. Our students also choose which charities they’d like to support and decide how to run their own fundraising events.

The Rule of Law

Our students will encounter rules and laws throughout their entire lives. We want our students to understand that whether these laws govern the class, the school, the neighbourhood or the country, they are set for good reasons and must be adhered to.

This understanding of the importance of rules is consistently reinforced through assemblies and our curriculum. The involvement of our students in the creation of the school rules helps them to understand the reasons behind the rules and the consequences if they are broken. Through the Philosophy, Religion and Ethics lessons, students debate and discuss the reasons for laws so that they can recognise the importance of these for their own protection. Throughout the year we welcome visits from members of the wider community including Police, the Fire Service and many more. We also have a very successful record in the regional Mock Trials with students from all age groups forming a formidable legal team.

Individual Liberty

We invest a great deal of time in creating a positive culture in our school, so that children are in a safe environment where choices and freedoms are encouraged. In lessons, student choice is key to motivation and learning tasks are often left for the child to decide upon. Our enrichment offer is extensive, allowing students freely to choose to pursue particular areas of interest within their curriculum time. Furthermore, this removes the barrier for students that do not have transport to attend after-school activities; this particularly affects students that are eligible for the Pupil Premium.

Mutual respect

Our rules, expectations and daily interactions are built upon mutual respect. Our thorough transition process helps create a shared ethos with our feeder primary schools and key sporting events allow our students to embody respect. We are extremely proud of our students in leadership roles also. A School Games organiser said that they were ‘a credit to the school’.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

At the Academy, we offer a culturally rich and diverse curriculum in which all major religions are studied and respected in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and PSHEE. We strongly believe that tolerance is gained through knowledge and understanding. The area that we serve is not particularly diverse, which can sometimes create a barrier to understanding those that have a different heritage to that of our own. We try to provide opportunities for the students to have first-hand experience of people different to themselves. For example, we had the pleasure of hosting the Destiny Africa Choir, made up of young children from the Kampala Children Centre in Uganda. A local newspaper reported the story,

“Children from a Ugandan orphanage won the hearts of students, parents and staff on a two-day visit to Holbrook Academy. The 10-18 year old members of the Destiny Africa Choir stayed with local families and gave two spectacular song and dance performances at the Academy. They also joined in with sporting activities and led an assembly describing life in Kampala.

Frank Anstee-Parry, the Academy’s Head of Religious Education and organiser of the visit, said: “The children played together, ate together and learned together. It was inspiring.”

Our Headteacher, Dr Letman, said: “This was a hugely successful visit. The positive outlook on life held by these young people is truly inspirational. We are developing a strong connection with the Kampala Children’s Centre. We have already raised a considerable sum to support their projects and students now intend to do even more.”

These unique opportunities give our students a wonderful opportunity to learn about other ways of life but also reflect on their own.