RC Primary School, Stevenage
Jesus is our guide, let us follow Him
"The Catholic school prepares pupils for life in multi-cultural, multi4-faith society, interconnected through globalisation and technology which calls forth challenges of involvement, service and citizenship. The Church calls every person to contribute to the common good of society"
From Our Catholic Schools: their Identity and their Purpose Diocese of Westminster,
The Red Book(third edition) June 2010
The Department for Education require all schools Òto 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.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and there has been much media speculation about what this actually means. At St Margaret Clitherow, in our diverse Catholic Community which is fully representative of the Universal Church, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways and are underpinned by our Christian ethos.
Democracy is a key element of school life. Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council. Roles on the school council are formally elected and each class representative has the duty of reporting back to the class from each meeting. The school council is often given an aspect of financial responsibility and they have to consult with each class before spending such sums. School council minutes, taken by the pupils are discussed at the Governors. Curriculum Committee and are shared at the Full Governing Body Meeting. Pupil focus groups are used to gather pupil opinion on key aspects of learning and school life and these are used to inform future decisions. In 2012 a Dream School initiative was set up with a video booth for pupils to present their ideas of ways to improve the school. These items, along with others, were used by governors in putting together a long term Dream Plan for the school.
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us as well as the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. We welcome visits from the Fire Service and the Police as these help our young people to build important community relationships and also to understand the individuals who are in a position to protect us. Fresh starts and forgiveness are also a key part of our behaviour policy.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safety, through provision of a safe environment and 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. Whether it be through choice of challenge, of how they record their learning, of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices. Our focus on Building Learning Power encourages individuality in a community context and enables good levels of resilience and independence when making such choices.
The Christian Principles of love of neighbour and Gospel values underpin the school ethos and behaviour policy. Mutual respect for all is key and pupils are regularly involved through discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown.
Tolerance in itself is not enough. All must be encouraged to show compassion, understanding and appreciation of the diversity of faith and beliefs. This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. This is particularly important in our context as a heavily oversubscribed Catholic School most classes are 100% Catholic and as such, teaching the children that they live in a society that contains members of many faith groups as well as members of no faith group is crucial to an accurate world view. Our RE programme is Catholic Christian but also acknowledges the importance of and understanding of people of many faiths. In nursery and reception all children learn about key festivals from across a range of traditions. As the children move into KS1 they learn about Judaism and Islam and this understanding is expanded as they move through KS2 and widen their faith perspective. In RE as the children become older, in order to achieve at the higher levels they have to display an understanding of dilemmas and circumstance from the point of view of other Christians, non-Christians and non-believers. Developing a language to deal with discussions relating to diversity is an important skill developed throughout the school as is an understanding of what it means to be prejudiced.