Christian Character and British Values
Promoting British values at St. Clement’s
Historically, Christian values have formed the foundation of the British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
The Department of Education has a clear expectation that school and academies should:
“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” Prevent Strategy, 2011
Opportunities to rehearse and exercise democratic processes are presented to pupils within the Academy. They have the opportunity to have their voices heard through the 'Children's Champions' and pupil questionnaires. We have elections for Children's Champions' representatives and for Head Prefects. Visits to the Houses of Parliament and Birmingham Council feature in our curriculum, allowing the children to see how democracy works in practice in a democratic society.
The Academy is also working to become a UNICEF Rights Respecting School. This programme:
“…gives children a powerful language to use to express themselves and to challenge the way they are treated. They are also able to challenge injustices for other children. Children and young people are empowered to access information that enables them to make informed decisions about their learning, health and wellbeing.”
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws - whether they be those that govern the class, the Academy, or the country - are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, in part through our structured teaching of PSHE, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through collective worship. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws; that they govern and protect us; the responsibilities that this involves; and the consequences when the laws are broken. Visits and visitors from the police and the fire service are regular parts of our school year and help reinforce this message. The Academy also works closely with external agencies, such as Women’s Aid and Childline, in order to educate our pupils and the wider community about the legal, as well as personal, consequences of Domestic Violence (DV), Sexual Exploitation (SE), Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Forced Marriage.
Within the Academy, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they do so in a safe and supportive environment. As an Academy we provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons, through Stonewall School Champions and through the Academy’s work to become UNICEF Rights Respecting School.
This is a core value and key part of our school ethos and behaviour policy. It is embedded within our behaviour policy and is celebrated through the reward system in place within each classroom. It is also reflected in the relationships and interactions between all members of our community - whatever their position or relationship within or with the school.
Working towards being a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, we teach our pupils about the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 29 of this Convention states:
“Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures. It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people...”
Tolerance of those of different faiths, faith traditions and beliefs
Our community is culturally diverse. We have children and families from different faiths and none. Respect for one another’s beliefs is encouraged through enhancing pupils' understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience and celebrate such diversity. This includes visits to the places of worship of the major world faiths. Visits to the local church and Birmingham Cathedral are part of our life as a C. of E. Academy, but also, as part of R.E. curriculum, Year 2 visit a mosque; Year 3, a Hindu temple; Year 4, a synagogue; Year 5, a gurdwara; and Y6, a Buddhist temple. Wherever possible, we invite members of our community who represent different faiths and faith traditions to talk about their beliefs in a supervised and structured manner in assemblies or R.E. lessons. This has included, though is not limited to: a Muslim artist talking about her faith and work; a parent from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church talking about their faith tradition; a parent talking about their Rastafarian beliefs.
Working towards being a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, we teach our pupils about the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 14 of this Convention states:
“Children have the right to think and believe what they want and to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Parents should help guide their children in these matters. The Convention respects the rights and duties of parents in providing religious and moral guidance to their children. Religious groups around the world have expressed support for the Convention, which indicates that it in no way prevents parents from bringing their children up within a religious tradition. At the same time, the Convention recognizes that as children mature and are able to form their own views, some may question certain religious practices or cultural traditions. The Convention supports children's right to examine their beliefs, but it also states that their right to express their beliefs implies respect for the rights and freedoms of others.”