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”.
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy defining British Values as follows:
- Respect for democracy and support or participation in the democratic process
- Respect for the basis on which the law is made and applies in England
- Support for equality of opportunity for all
- Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law
- Respect for and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs
North London Grammar School is a vibrant multi-cultural and multi faith school in the very diverse London Borough of Barnet. At North London Grammar School we take very seriously our responsibility to prepare children for life in modern Britain. We ensure that fundamental British values are introduced, discussed and lived out through the ethos and work of the school. All curriculum areas provide a vehicle for furthering understanding of these concepts and, in particular, our assemblies and lessons in Citizenship, RE and PSHE lessons provide excellent opportunities to deepen and develop understanding. Students embrace these concepts with enthusiasm and demonstrate a good understanding of their application to their own lives.
Our school reflects British values in all that we do. We aim to nurture our children on their journey through life so they can grow into safe, caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who make a positive difference to British society and to the world. We encourage our children to be creative, unique, open-minded and independent individuals, respectful of themselves and of others in our school, our local community and the wider world.
The school makes considerable efforts to ensure children have exposure to a wide experience beyond their local community during which these concepts are shown, through, for example, a range of educational visits, visiting theatre groups, sporting events, our PGL residential trips, and through various visiting speakers.
Each year, students decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the students contribute to the drawing up of the class rules. We have a school council that meets at least twice a term. Elected School Council members are involved in the meetings. The school council has been involved in gathering opinions about school issues such as environmental issues such as lighting and litter, charities to support, and other things like playtime resources. School council leaders have been taught to implement a ‘majority rule’ when voting on particular issues. Parents have planned opportunities to voice their opinions through Parent Coffee Mornings and regular questionnaires. The outcomes of these forums have been acted upon effectively, e.g. information evenings, homework policy, and the School Calendar. Students are also involved in the planning of our creative curriculum, giving their thoughts on what they would like to learn. These ideas are then woven into the curriculum by class teachers. Students are involved in making decisions about fundraising ideas and who the subsequent money they have raised is donated to, for example the ‘Child Net International’ for raising awareness of Internet Safety.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, is consistently reinforced at North London Grammar School. Pupils are taught from Year 7 the rules of the school. These are our School motto – Bonitas, Scienta and Disciplina and the School Behaviour Ladder. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws and that they are there to govern and protect us. Pupils are also helped to understand the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Transport Police help reinforce this message. Expectations are reinforced regularly and opportunities are sought frequently to praise positive choices. Pupils modeling excellent behaviour are recognised and rewarded. Opportunities are provided regularly for children and staff to participate in sporting activities which represent good examples of fairness, rules and etiquette in sport. Enrichment clubs (such as Karate, Table Tennis and Football) emphasize why rules and boundaries are necessary to ensure safety.
At North London Grammar School, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we provide a structured and safe environment within which young pupils are able to make informed choices, whilst also receiving an empowering education. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices and become critical thinkers through evaluating, reflecting and collecting valid and reliable evidence to make good decisions, for example: whether it is through choice of challenge; how they record their learning using key skills to present information and communicate ideas; or by choosing to participate in our numerous enrichment clubs and opportunities.
Safeguarding our pupils is paramount and PSHCE/e-Safety lessons aim to equip pupils with the skills to make safe choices. We have provisionally planned a visit with The NSPCC on sessions on pupils’ right to be safe.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘Goodness, Knowledge and Discipline’, and pupils have taken part in discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Children are encouraged to demonstrate responsibility for others at all times. Our school reward system is centred on our four school houses (Aeris, Aqua, Ignis and Tellus) which involves all children from Year 7 to 12/13. Rewards are given for positive attitudes and behaviours and there is a termly cup awarded to the House that has accrued the most House Points. The school goal and beliefs promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and school rules and is reflected in our Behaviour chart. High levels of mutual respect are obvious in the school and are demonstrated daily in the excellent relationships between staff and pupils.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
North London Grammar School is an extremely diverse school. We actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education, Citizenship and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. The children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths. We also welcome theatre groups who promote messages of equality and underline spiritual, moral, social and cultural values of groups of people around the world and within Britain. Resources in classrooms are regularly audited to ensure they reflect our multi-cultural society and stereotypes are challenged.