Guidance on promoting British values in schools

This guidance aims to help the community of Thomas Gainsborough School to understand their responsibilities in promoting British Values.

As a school, we all have a duty to uphold and ‘actively promote’ the Fundamental British Values (FBV) of;

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.  

These values were first set out by the government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011. Until now schools have been required to ‘respect’ these values, but as a result of changes brought in all schools must now have a clear strategy for embedding these values and show how their work with students has been effective in doing so.

Thomas Gainsborough School, entwine the school values of Respect, Resilience, Honesty, Happiness, Positivity and Confidence with Fundamental British Values.  This to ensure that students’ progress throughout their time at the school and beyond with a developed attitude, skills and knowledge to prosper in and be respected within any community. We provide a curriculum which is broad and balanced, complies with legislation and provides a wide range of subjects which prepare students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in modern day Britain

Ofsted and the independent inspectorates now take the work of schools in this area into account during inspections.

  • Examples of the understanding and knowledge students are expected to learn include:
    • an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
    • an understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law
    • an acceptance that people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
    • an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination

  • Examples of actions schools can take to promote British values are to:
    • include in suitable parts of the curriculum - as appropriate for the age of students material on the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries
    • ensure all students within the school have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrate how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes such as a school council whose members are voted for by the students
    • use opportunities such as general or local elections to hold mock elections to promote fundamental British values and provide students with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view
    • consider the role of extra-curricular activity, including any run directly by students, in promoting fundamental British values The Government today also published its interim response to a consultation of the revised Independent Schools Standards (ISS).

The school actively takes opportunities to promote FBV through whole school systems such as the Student Union and assemblies.We actively promote FBV through curriculum planning, extra-curricular enrichment, lesson planning and delivery which include real opportunities to explore these values. Our active promotion of FBV also means challenging students, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to any FBV, including ‘extremist’ views and those which demote ‘Respect, Resilience, Honesty, Happiness, Positivity and Confidence. We believe that we allow our students to recognise right from wrong, resolve conflicts, understand and explore diversity, develop a moral code, understand others beliefs and understand how communities function.   Appendix A offers examples of where FBV is seen within Thomas Gainsborough School.

APPENDIX A – Fundamental British Values (FBV) at Thomas Gainsborough School (TGS)

Democracy examples at TGS

Democracy can be seen as a state of society characterised by equality of rights and privileges. It can also refer to our nation’s electoral systems. In school we promote the importance of democracy through such things as:

  • The free and fair electoral process for student to positions of responsibility (e.g. Student Union).
  • Students being encouraged to consider alternative pathways in lessons.
  • Student Voice on key school decisions through processes including online whole school surveying.
  • Students electing peers to represent them within or out of lessons.
  • During lessons a vote could be cast to agree on a class answer.

Rule of Law examples at TGS

All students and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced. In school we promote the importance of the rule of law through such things as:

  • Behaviour expectations for learning.
  • Behaviour Policy in place.
  • Marking and feedback, clear boundaries are set and explained to students on homework and assessment for learning.
  • Accountability is stressed to all including staff [Teacher Standards], students [Student Code of Conduct], and Governors.
  • Assemblies / talks are delivered with a focus on the law e.g. Online Internet Safety.
  • Visits to school from local Police Officers or MPs to inform students about the process of law.

Individual Liberty examples at TGS

Individual liberty suggests the free exercise of rights generally seen as outside Government control. In school we promote the importance of individual liberty through such things as:

  • The increasing liberty afforded to students as they move up through the years.
  • 6th Form allowed to use the coffee shop facility during private study.
  • The profusion of enrichment / extra-curricular / co-curricular activities and clubs.
  • Students encouraged to voice views in lessons in a formative manner.
  • Students have key roles and responsibilities in school e.g. Student Union
  • Students and parents offered autonomy over choices regarding academic pathways in Key Stage 3 (Grammar, Arts, STEM and Access Pathways model at Thomas Gainsborough School allows students to follow a curriculum that plays to their strengths, aptitudes, interests and needs from Year 7).
  • Students offered autonomy over choices regarding academic pathways (GCSE and ‘A’ Level options).
  • Elements of choice in the school canteen within healthy boundaries.

Mutual Respect examples at TGS

The proper regard for an individual’s dignity, which is reciprocated. In school we promote the importance of mutual respect through such things as:

  • Behaviour expectations for learning.
  • School ethos statement – ‘Excellence: for each, for all’.
  • Clear guidance on good behaviour in areas such as the Science labs.
  • The publishing and enforcement of a smart dress code for students and staff [uniform].
  • Wellbeing promotes mutual respect through the skills developed in lessons / assemblies and the repetition of related content across schemes of work.
  • Highlighting mutual respect if students agree to wait a turn in a lesson for another student to attempt an activity or answer.
  • Lunchtime ‘Friendship & support clubs.
  • Students undertake and participate within a variety of charitable events in support of local communities and throughout initiatives in the UK and overseas.

Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs at TGS

A fair, objective, and permissive attitude to those whose faith and beliefs may differ from one’s own. In school we promote the importance of tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs through such things as:

  • Religion, Philosophy and Ethics taught throughout KS3
  • Observance of Christmas services e.g. Carol Singing by the choir.
  • Acceptance of faith symbolism.
  • Religious Studies taught to all students across KS3 & 4.
  • Holiday requests authorised related to a directed event on a ‘Faith Calendar’
  • Faith assemblies.
  • School Chaplin on site.
  • School visits to different countries encompassing differing faiths and cultures.
  • British History – students are encouraged to reflect upon their role in a diverse, multicultural and multi faith society.