Promoting British Values at Twickenham School
Teaching British values at our school is an important way to enable students to embrace the key values that they need to be equipped for life in modern British society. Students at our school develop self-knowledge, are better able to make the right choices and make contributions to the wider school and their community by studying and promoting the British values of: Democracy; the rule of law; individual liberty; mutual respect; and acceptance for those with different faiths and beliefs.
The DfE has recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values" as detailed above.
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these five values will be reiterated this academic year.
At Twickenham School, these values are regularly reinforced in a number of ways.
The Personal Development Curriculum
British values are taught explicitly as part of the Personal Development and Citizenship curriculum. Topics studied include: Why have rules; a community of individuals; and shared values in school and society.
The school has a student leadership council which meets fortnightly. There are two students from each tutor group on the leadership council, ensuring that there is a breadth of experience and opinions. Election of the student leadership council reflects the British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action to our students. KS4 students are also represented by a Head Boy, Head Girl, Deputies and a team of Senior Prefects. Each prefect is linked to a department and one of the three areas of school improvement:
- Quality of curriculum, teaching and learning.
- Leadership at all levels.
As a result, students take ownership of not only their school but also of their learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility.
Twice a year students complete questionnaires on a full range of school issues. Their opinions are then used to feed into future planning. Changes to Twickenham School as a result of this feedback have been a new restaurant, providing more recreational space at break time and lunchtime and recommissioning the climbing wall.
How we influence and shape democracy is explored in many ways, though lessons, current affairs, themes of the week and assemblies. These weekly themes are linked to our school values. These are often connected to national or international celebrations and commemorations such as: International Day of Peace; Martin Luther King Day; and Remembrance Day.
In PDC students learn about British democracy and how young people can participate at a local and national level.
The rule of law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is consistently reinforced at the Twickenham School, and consequently our students possess a strong sense of equality and understanding of what is right and wrong.
We have a rigorous Behaviour and Rewards Policy that is in the student planners and understood by all staff and students.
Students are taught the ‘rules’ of the school along with the value and reasons behind rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when rules and the law are broken. An integral part of our Behaviour and Rewards Policy is the use of restorative justice. It aims to increase student awareness of how their actions affect others in the community and ensure students are better able to make the right choices.
We have a local Police Officer who works with our students to educate them on how young people can be affected by crime and how to stay safe. Students are also able to access further e-safety support through the school’s intranet.
In PDC students learn about the rule of law by learning about the importance of shared values and responsibilities of British citizens.
Students are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school, we educate and provide boundaries so that students can make informed choices and respectfully express their views and beliefs.
Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms, and are advised how to exercise these safely and respectfully, for example through our assemblies, PDC curriculum, current affairs and tutorial activities. In lessons students can make choices about the tasks and challenges they complete through our three-tier differentiation and stretch policy, as well as being able to choose from a varied programme of extra-curricular activities.
Stereotypes are regularly challenged and we are working hard to raise the aspirations of all of our students with regular discussions about potential career possibilities and providing opportunities to experience different career and further education opportunities. All students have equally high aspirations for their futures.
In PDC students learn about individual liberty by learning about how they can express their rights and personal freedoms safely.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Staff and students treat each other with the utmost respect and courtesy. Students learn that their behaviours affect their rights and those of others. All members of the school community are required to treat each other with respect; this is a high profile message that is communicated to students. Our Behaviour and Rewards Policy means that students know that their choices affect their rights and those of others. We also provide a model for civil resolution of conflict through restorative justice.
Anti-bullying has a high profile within the school and is addressed through the tutorial programme, assemblies, surveys and our Anti-bullying Policy. We celebrate Anti-Bullying Week with a series of tutor activities and whole school events to promote difference and equality in our school. Students are also taught about respect and bullying in the online world though our curriculum and e-safety lessons.
In PDC students learn about mutual respect through relationship education, e-safety and the work they complete on shared community values.
Acceptance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Twickenham School is rich in cultural diversity and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Students learn that all members of the school community deserve to be treated with respect and that differences are to be accepted.
Religious Education is taught in KS3 and KS4, which promotes mutual respect and understanding between those of different faiths or beliefs.
Assemblies and tutorial activities actively challenge stereotypes and reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others no matter their ethnicity, beliefs, gender or disability. Assemblies cover a variety of topics, including Yom Kippur; International Day of Peace; Black History Month; Ramadan, Diwali; International Day for Tolerance; Hanukah; Martin Luther King Day; Chinese New Year; and Passover.
The weekly newsletter celebrates cultural events and celebrates successes of all students.
At Twickenham School we actively challenge students, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to the values we hold as a school and those that underpin the fabric of a democratic Britain. We take our responsibilities seriously as set out in the Government’s Prevent Strategy designed to tackle ‘extremist’ views and prevent children being radicalised.
In PDC students learn about acceptance and different forms of discrimination including discrimination against people due to their gender, religion, disability, sexuality and ethnicity, as well as how to challenge discrimination in society. The curriculum educates students about the dangers of radicalisation and extremism.