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.”
As a UNICEF Rights Respecting school the principles of equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation are at the heart of everything we do and these principles underpin the fundamental values.
‘The Convention applies to every child without discrimination, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status, whatever they think or say, whatever their family background.’ (Article 2)
Barlow Hall is a school committed to Restorative Justice. Each year children in each class create a class charter based on the UN Convention on the rights of the child and are developing an understanding ‘Rights Holders’ and ‘Duty Bearers’. Positions for the School Council and Sports Council are decided using a democratic process involving all pupils. (Respect the views of the child, Article 12)
Pupils are given an understanding of freedom of speech for all through our curriculum design and providing opportunities for pupils to discuss what is going on in the world today. This includes looking at the role the media plays. (Freedom of expression, Article 13)
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is taught through our whole school topic ‘The Struggle for Power, Control and Equality’ as well as through our restorative approach to behaviour management. We have a Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Enterprise curriculum (PSHCE) which teaches about ‘How laws and rules affect me’, ‘Rules and Responsibilities’, ‘Children’s and Human rights’ and ‘Community and Global relationships’. We have visits and visitors from agencies to help to reinforce messages about responsibilities, for example the police, fire fighters and health professionals.
‘Governments must do all they can to make sure every child can enjoy their rights by creating systems and passing laws that promote and protect children’s rights’, Article 4.
Within school, children are actively encouraged to make positive choices in a safe and supportive environment. Our children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and how to exercise these safely. Our restorative approach enables our children to understand their own and others liberties because it is very effective in changing the behaviour of those who have harmed others. Punishment on its own is not an effective way of getting people to understand the effects of their behaviour on other people. The basic Ethos of the Restorative Approach is to:
- Ensure that people have the chance to understand the harm that they done to others.
- Give people who have caused harm they have done to others.
- Give the people who have caused harm the right to put things right.
This is a cornerstone of everything we do, our relationships whether between children or adults are always respectful and is at the heart of our values.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
‘Every child has the right to think and believe what they choose and also to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights.’ Article 14
Barlow Hall’s diversity and harmonious community is our great strength. Our children respect their own identities, faiths and beliefs sharing their own knowledge. Children no matter their background, religion or faith come together both in school and at other places of worship to understand others better. We have a Philosophy for Children which aims to encourage our children to think critically, caringly, creatively and collaboratively. It helps teachers to build a ‘community of enquiry’ where participants create and enquire into their own questions, and ‘learn how to learn’ in the process.
At Barlow Hall we will actively challenge children, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including extremist views.