At Swanmore CE Primary School, we have been teaching citizenship through our Personal Development Learning (PDL) curriculum; helping children to learn about the skills and attitudes needed for living in a diverse society. We believe it is important for children to learn ‘how societies work’ and to understand that they can challenge unfairness and injustice they encounter in their lives and moreover, that they can be agents for change.
In June 2014, the Prime Minister emphasised the important role that British values can play in education and from this, schools were encouraged to promote these as a part of their Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural work (SMSC).
How have British Values been defined?
'Fundamental British values' have been described to comprise of 4 concepts:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect for, and tolerance of, those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
As well as actively promoting British values, an additional requirement was placed on schools to actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views – the anti-radicalisation strategy known as Prevent.
Our PDL curriculum needs to be mindful of these additional emphases but also must recognise that they may be different from those views at home. PDL education is about discussion, listening, mutual exploration and understanding. This is why our overarching Behaviour Education Policy builds on our value of Respect.
We are mindful of our aim to empower children to live and be successful in, a modern democracy.
We need to help our pupils to be:
- informed about the social and political world
- concerned about the welfare of others
- articulate in their opinions and arguments
- capable of having an influence on the world
- active in their communities
- responsible in how they act as citizens.
Being part of a British community
We believe that it is important for our pupils to learn about and come to know the local community in which they live. We encourage children to learn about this through our local studies work which is an integral part of our history and geography curricula and through our active links with the community.
At Swanmore, we value seasonal traditions and customs. We have strong links with our lunch club which presents valuable opportunities for children to read with and enrich the days of older
members of our community. We encourage teachers to use local resources to support learning; we make good use, for example, of our village, neighbouring towns and villages and local church. We invite our community into school too and the curriculum is brought to life, for example, through visits from the local fire brigade, PCSOs and local charities.
We believe that our school is an integral part of our community and encourage children, parents and governors to help shape what we provide. We carry out various stakeholder surveys each year to gain views on what we do well and how we might improve.
Swanmore has had a school council in past years and we have developed this into and extension of the governing body, as Young Governors. Working with our governors and reporting to them in the summer term. In recent years the school council worked alongside the Parish Council to support the development of the village skate park and running track.
We invite the children to choose which charities they would like the school to support. They get to vote on a final selection and then decide which they would like to support over the year. We chose a local, national and international charity, so the children develop a sense of impact across the wider world. Our Worship Council supports charitable work including the foodbank and twinning schemes. Children experience the opportunity of voting for several bodies in the school, including, house captains, Young Governors, Worship Council and Eco Council. This is all to encourage the children’s understanding that at any age, they can have a positive impact on the lives of others.
The Rule of Law
The importance of the rule of law, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. Throughout the school year, we explore the school values of Honesty, Charity and Respect and the rules, of Ready, Respect and Safe and how this translates into rules that govern, how they work and learn together in class and around the school.
Children learn about the importance of individual liberty through Worship and our PDL curriculum. They learn that liberties carry responsibility; children learn that they can express themselves, their views and beliefs but need to do so in a way that respects others. Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. We believe it is important that all adults in the school model these behaviours.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Whilst Swanmore serves an area which cannot be considered culturally diverse, we believe it is therefore more important to ensure our curriculum engages children with people from different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. We have achieved this through our assemblies, links with other schools, our residential visits programme and local visits to other cultural centres. Our RE curriculum is based on Hampshire County Council’s RE syllabus Living Difference IV.