St. Monica's as Part of Modern Britain
In June 2014, David Cameron emphasised the important role that British values can play in education. Further, how well a school promotes such values is an aspect of Ofsted's inspection framework. Although in 2014-15 this is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new at St Monica's. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our Religious Education, school assemblies, and Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL). Our school values are integral to our Vision and Mission Statements.
Being a part of Modern Britain
As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at St Monica’s . Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. This means that we celebrate traditions of our faith and customs in the course of the year such as Harvest Festival during the Autumn term. We also celebrate and remember national events, a recent example being the Centenary of the Great War in November 2014.
Further, our children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. Two specific examples of when we teach about being part of Britain are:
Historically: Learning about historical timelines such as the Tudors and the Victorian Era. As a new initiative, in Autumn 2015, Time Travel will be a whole-school topic which will take place every two years. The main focus will be British history. During the topic, children will learn about an aspect of life and how this has developed and changed over time.
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at St Monica’s. Democracy is central to how we operate. An obvious example is our School Council as well as our School Prefects. The election of the School Council and School Prefect members reflect our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action.
Candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative and pupils vote. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by different classes. The Council is actively involved in recruitment and in providing teachers with feedback, such as providing a review of themed weeks and is able to genuinely effect change within the school.
Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:
Rules and Laws
The importance of rules are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Class Rules, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves, and the consequences when laws are broken. These values are reinforced in different ways:
Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:
Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our e-safety and SEAL lessons.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
St Monica's is a community which is greatly culturally diverse and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds. Mutual respect is at the heart of our Mission Statement– To welcome and embrace everyone. Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything. Our children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.
Specific examples of how we at St Monica's enhance pupils understanding and respect for others are: