Promoting British Values at The Schools at Somerhill.
The DfE have recently reinforced the 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."
At The Schools at Somerhill, we already promote the core aspects of British values through the SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) work that is integrated throughout every year group. We recognise that such development is most successful when those values and attitudes are promoted by all the staff and provide a model of behaviour for pupils. As stated in our aims,
“We value our sense of community with its emphasis on respect for one and all. A happy and secure environment enables our boys and girls to learn the importance of good manners and polite behaviour.”
As a school community, we value and celebrate this country’s diverse heritage. Alongside this, we value being part of Britain. In general terms this means that we celebrate traditions in the course of the year, for example, Harvest Festival and Remembrance Day during the Michaelmas term.
In addition, through the ethos of the school and the systems in place, British values are reinforced in the following ways:
Within our two prep schools we have school councils which meet regularly. The school council, which is elected in a democratic way, is the pupils’ opportunity to raise issues, organise events and activities for the school and put forward their suggestions for new initiatives. Through all areas of the curriculum and at all stages of our three schools, children are taught the importance of listening to others and their viewpoint, allowing the pupils to gain a full understanding of democracy.
The rule of law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced at The Schools at Somerhill. Pupils are taught from an early age the rules and values of our school. The Golden Stars, House Tokens and House Points systems reward children for, amongst other things, good work, helpfulness and good levels of effort. Equally, the consistency shown in dealing with negative behaviour ensures that all children learn the importance of laws, not just within school but within the community and country.
Making the right choices and being responsible for them are important principles at The Schools at Somerhill and they are reinforced throughout the three schools. All children receive equal opportunities and are encouraged to be independent in making the choice that is right for them. Our pupils are actively encouraged to make informed choices, knowing that they are in a safe and a supportive environment. We provide boundaries for pupils to do this, thus empowering them to make good decisions. This also incorporates understanding how to remain safe through PSHEE and E-safety sessions. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our aims as a school. Children at The Schools at Somerhill learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. Listening to others and behaving as we would want others to behave towards us are important features of everyday school life.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
At the Schools at Somerhill, we actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. School assemblies, Religious Education lessons and PSHEE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. Members of different faiths and religions are invited in to speak in class and at whole school assemblies and, at various stages of their time at Somerhill, the children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
Through the study of British history, pupils at each of our three schools are taught to understand the different periods in our history in a chronological order. In addition, cross curricular topic work linked to the study of specific periods in British history underpins notions of our shared heritage, values and traditions.
Commitment to charity work
We encourage our pupils to participate in and support good causes and charities. This reinforces that there are large numbers of people both at home and overseas who are much less fortunate than ourselves and who deserve our support. The school and its pupils and staff support a range of charities each year to underline and reinforce this value in the school.
All staff at The Schools at Somerhill strive to ensure that our pupils leave with the strongest foundation of values upon which to build a successful life and make a positive contribution to our society.