The Department for Education states that there is a 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.”
We agree with the Department for Education’s five-part definition of British values:
■ The Rule of Law;
■ Individual Liberty;
■ Mutual Respect;
■ Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs.
At Walker Riverside Academy our students will encounter these principles throughout everyday Academy life. Our philosophy is, in fact, that British Values are Human Values; they are a right and international entitlement and not specifically owned by one country.
Listed below are some examples of how we promote these values in our college community.
Students, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at our school. Democracy is central to how we operate and is embedded in the Academy.
Students are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. This was an area of note in our most recent Ofsted inspection. They observed;
“Students are confident to express their views or offer an answer even if they are unsure, because they know they will be shown respect by their classmates.”
Students are encouraged to share their opinions through the Student Voice, where representatives are nominated by their peers to raise any concerns and/or views in all subjects. The Student Voice is able to genuinely effect changes within Academy.
Parents/carers are encouraged to complete questionnaires about all areas of Academy life and community every parents evening. Where necessary, parents will be contacted to discuss their feedback.
We encourage students to take ownership of not only the Academy but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our students.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, Walker Riverside Academy or the country, are consistently reinforced by the Academy through:
■ School assemblies;
■ The curriculum – where there is respect and appreciation for different rules- in a sports lesson, for example;
■ When reflecting on behaviour and the use of restorative practice.
Students are taught the value and reasons behind the laws; that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Regular visits from our designated community police officer, as well as other authorities and relevant professionals ensure our students are continually made aware of the consequences of their/other peoples’ actions.
Within our Academy, students are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a Academy, we educate and provide boundaries for our students to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education.
Individual liberty and choice making is rewarded through our longstanding rewards system, known as ‘Colours’.
Our students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely across the curriculum, for example:
■ E-safety – students are advised how to maintain a safe presence online;
■ CCF – through thorough guidance, students are directed how they can solve challenges using safe and logistical thinking ;
■ Behaviour – all students are advised of behaviour expectations and are responsible for managing their own actions;
■ Extra-curricular choices – there are a wide variety of extra-curricular clubs for students to participate in, should they wish;
■ KS4 Options – students are given the option to select which subjects best suit their abilities, aspirational careers or which they would enjoy studying;
■ Student Voice – through elected representatives, students can share their thoughts and opinions in order to make changes within the Academy;
Our SMSC curriculum has been carefully designed to ensure students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is recognised. It allows students to explore and develop their own values and beliefs, spiritual awareness and to respect the British value of democracy, encouraging students to share their opinions appropriately.
Respect is at the core of what we build the Walker Riverside community upon and students are part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown.
We encourage relationships that are built on acknowledging the differences and the cultural varieties that make Walker Riverside Academy unique. Whether this is related to ethnicity, sexual orientation, academic ability or anything that makes us who we are, here at Walker, students are encourage to acknowledge and celebrate our differences.
Through opportunities including, Student Voice and our #Nobystanders policy where students are encouraged to share their own opinions and recognise those of others.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Our Academy is situated in an area which has increasing cultural diversity; therefore we place a great emphasis on promoting this with the students. Here, at Walker, we strongly believe that tolerance is gained through knowledge and understanding. We achieve this through enhancing students’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse country by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies are regularly planned and speakers from different faiths/religions are frequently invited in to share their knowledge/experiences to enhance learning.