Promoting British Values
The DfE have 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.”
As a Catholic school, we believe that everyone is made and loved by God as unique individuals, made in His image. Our Catholic ethos embeds the foundations of British values by living the Gospel values:
TO LOVE GOD ABOVE ALL THINGS
LOVING EACH OTHER
LOVING ALL PEOPLE
LOVING LIFE ITSELF
CONSTANTLY STRIVING FOR
WORTHY OF OUR GOD GIVEN GIFTS.
We encourage our children to actively take part in democratic activities throughout the school. Each class has two annually democratically elected school councillors, who form part of the School Council which meet regularly throughout the school year.
In Year 6, pupils are nominated by staff to become Head Boy and Girl. Children in Key Stage 2 are also given the opportunity to visit the council house in Birmingham and own local MP, Gisela Stuart, also visits school and brings their role to life through a question and answer session with Year Six pupils and our school council.
Democracy is also taught in the curriculum, in our themed approach to both world and British history.
Pupils’ opinions are highly valued at St. Mary’s School and their views and ideas are sought via their school councillor. There is a strong ethos of pupils volunteering in and out of school time, whether altar serving, being a Year Six prefect, or reading at class and school masses.
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country are constantly reinforced at St Mary’s. We have high expectations of behaviour in school and this is observed throughout the school. Our behaviour policy reflects our expectations and has been influenced by pupils contributing to our class rules.
At St Mary’s, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school, we educate and provide boundaries from where pupils can make informed choices. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to do these safely: for example, through our e-safety sessions during the Computing curriculum.
Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record work, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular activities clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Children are taught about personal responsibility, choices, ambition and aspirations. They are encouraged to have broad horizons and the opportunities provided include: theatre visits, dance performances, musical instrument lessons, a rich breadth of PE, and focused art work on our numerous displays.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our mission– loving ourselves and loving others. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own right and the rights of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
Pupils are taught to respect their school, adults, peers, other pupils and themselves through our ethos, RE and PSHE curriculum and behaviour policy. Pupils are taught to have morals and will inform staff if they feel there is discrimination evident in school.
We celebrate the breadth of talents and support the needs that our own pupils have and children are encouraged to recognise effort and achievement.
Pupils demonstrate an understanding and awareness that people in school and our community have different faiths and beliefs to the individual pupil and to the Catholic faith. They understand that these differences are part of our liberty and should not be the cause of prejudice or discriminatory behaviour.
We value our local community links and children in our schools aim to visit different places of worship: Year Four visit the Jewish synagogue and Year Six visit a local mosque.
Our school recognises many faith festivals and we encourage children and parents from a range of faith and cultural backgrounds to share experiences and knowledge with our children.
We encourage our children to interact with children from other schools, through organised activities and events and our school council have made some excellent links with Nishkam, a Sikh school in Handsworth.
There are clear procedures and guidance in school for pupils who demonstrate a lack of respect or racist behaviour.