St Thomas More Catholic School – Promotion of British Values
At St Thomas More Catholic School we recognise not only the importance of allowing students to flourish academically but we also embrace our wider role in preparing them for their adult life beyond the formal examined curriculum. Part of our role in that preparation is ensuring that we promote and reinforce British values to our students.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and considered them to be democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. At St Thomas More Catholic School these values are reinforced in a pervasive manner and permeate the school community.
The examples that follow are an indication of some of the many ways we seek to embed British values at St Thomas More Catholic School and should be seen as an indication of our approach rather than an exhaustive list.
At St Thomas More Catholic School the principle of democracy is consistently reinforced, with the democratic process being employed for important decisions within the school community and beyond, for instance the nomination and election of students to the student forum, pupil prefect system and the position of Head girl / head boy. The principle of democracy is explored in History and Religious Studies as well as in Pastoral time and assemblies.
The rule of law
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. Students are taught the values and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service are regular parts of our Pastoral Programme and help reinforce this message. Links have also been forged with Northumbria University who come into school to talk about the Law and Justice System.
Within St Thomas More Catholic School students are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for students to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and receive advice about how to exercise these safely, for example through our exploration of E-Safety in computing and their tutor time activities.
Respect is at the core of our school ethos and is modelled by students and staff alike. The school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments as well as extra-curricular activities such as sport.
In line with our commitment to democracy students at St Thomas More Catholic School are always able to voice their opinions and we foster an environment where students are safe to disagree with each other. The development of St Thomas More Catholic School’s Thinking Curriculum across the school develops mutual respect throughout the curriculum and our code of conduct promotes the values of respect and responsibility. The school forum also provides the students with an arena where they can bring up and discuss any issues that may undermine the school ethos.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
This is achieved through equipping students with the ability to understand their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity within the school community. All students experience a structured approach to PSHE through our Pastoral Programmes where global themes and cultures are explored. Citizenship sessions in year 7 examine the ‘Changing Nature of UK Society’ looking at diversity in their school and local community as well as their own identity as a citizen of the North East of England. In year 8 this theme is continued through looking at migration to the UK, as well as what makes a model British Citizen and how proud the students are to be British. Supporting these sessions and the school curriculum we also run numerous trips abroad throughout the academic year from which our students gain valuable experience of other cultures and languages. This is even extended to the school catering where special food ‘theme’ days are organised to celebrate both British and World events. Furthermore, our Religious Studies curriculum provides a broad and balanced education on a range of faiths, religions and cultures.
Should you feel that the school is not meeting this requirement, you should contact the school office and request to express your concerns with the Head teacher. Likewise, if you feel that anyone working at the school is undermining these values you should report this to the Head teacher.