Christian and British Values
At South Malling we believe everyone should be enabled to “live life in all its fullness” (John 10:10). Our vision, therefore, is to give everyone the opportunities and encouragement to Reach for the Stars
As a Church of England school our ethos is informed by Christian values as well as British values. We believe these values support the development of our students’ character and wellbeing.
Each year, we select six Christian values, drawing on the rich contribution that the Christian faith has made to our education and legal systems These values are shared by us all, whether we are Christians or not and are taught through our Collective worship and assembly programme.
Term 1: Respect
Term 2: Friendship and Compassion
Term 3: Responsibility
Term 4: Perseverance
Term 5: Creativity
Term 6: Equality
These traditional values still exert significant influence in modern society and complement many ideals we champion in contemporary Britain. The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and these principles were reiterated by the then Prime Minister in 2014.
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.”
At South Malling we regularly and explicitly integrate these values into our broad and balanced curriculum that includes Personal, Social, Health and Emotional (PSHE), Religious Education (RE), SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) opportunities and experiences.
The five fundamental British Values are:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, and for those without faith.
This is how we understand and promote each of these British and Christian values.
Democracy is embedded in school through many activities and opportunities. Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other through our Oracy programme, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard.
Each year the children contribute to and decide on their class charters and associated rights. These are signed and displayed in the classroom.
Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council. Its members are elected solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. The school council holds regular meetings to discuss issues raised in classes.
Pupils can also share their opinions and ideas through regular questionnaires administered by the school. Pupil Voice is an important way for the school to gauge how children are feeling about a wide variety of issues and gives children an opportunity to share their views about the school.
Each week the children are able to nominate and vote for children to achieve ‘Friendship Award”.
Children have an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the school.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced. Our pupils 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. Our school has ‘Golden Rules’, which are deeply embedded in the way we work. Each class also discusses and sets its own rules in their class charter to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
Our behaviour management system supports pupils to understand the rule of law and you can read more about this here.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices and respectfully express their views and beliefs. As a school, we educate and empower our pupils, providing boundaries for them to make choices in a safe and supportive environment. For instance, children can choose in-class challenges, assignments from their homework menus or participation in various extra-curricular activities during lunch break or after school
We model freedom of speech as well as encourage and teach our pupils to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms, while challenging stereotypes and implementing a strong anti-bullying culture. Examples of this can be seen in our e-safety and PSHE curriculum. We are working towards the delivery of child-led assemblies and asking pupils to evaluate assemblies, which will influence how adults deliver content in the future.
Respect (and Mutual Respect)
Respect for others is a fundamental value of our inclusive school and pupils know and understand that it is expected that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have and to everything, however big or small. This includes respect for others, everyone’s opinion matters and everyone’s contribution is important, everyone’s feelings should be considered, everyone’s faith is sacred. Respect needs to start with respect for ourselves as well as others in our community. We acknowledge that every child and adult is made unique and is uniquely precious, worthy of respect and kindness. Mutual respect is expressed in the “Golden Rule” of all faith traditions and by Jesus in Matthew 7:12 ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.’
Respecting those who love and care for us is common in all faith traditions and is expressed in Romans 13:7 ‘Give respect and honour to those who are in authority.’
There are frequent opportunities in the curriculum, assemblies and during playtimes to discuss differences between people, such as differences of faith, ethnicity, disability, gender or sexuality and differences of family situations.
Children and adults alike, including visitors and parents, are challenged if they are disrespectful in any way.
Tolerance of Those with Different Faiths 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 in our local community which is largely white British. We support pupils’ understanding of different faiths and beliefs through RE studies; PSHE work; visits to other settings, participation in a range of celebrations and in depth study during themed weeks. We do not merely tolerate difference and diversity, we actively celebrate the uniqueness of all individuals. We use opportunities such as the Olympics and World Cup to learn about life and culture in other countries. During our Globetrotters Learning Journey the whole school focused on global issues and each class will specifically focus on one country.
Friendship and Compassion
Compassion requires an act of imagination and humility to share in the lives of others. Compassion means stepping into someone else’s shoes or coming alongside them to share in their difficulties and suffering. Compassion might mean abandoning our position of strength to identify with, care for and support those who are weaker. Friendship is at the centre of our community and we explore what this means and how friendships become faithful and resilient. The apostle Paul links compassion with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12) while the writer of Ecclesiastes identifies this with friendship when they write ‘if one falls down, a friend can lift him up.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
When we act responsibly, we are showing that we can make a sensible ‘response’ in a situation. Responsibility is thinking about the good of everyone, not just what suits one person. Being responsible citizens means we are people who can be trusted to do our best for the good of others and are prepared to stand up for others. We can show responsibility for ourselves and our actions, other people and their possessions, the world and all the resources we share. Jesus instructed his followers to ‘care for one another, as I have cared for you’ (John 13:34 paraphrased).
Perseverance is a valuable character strength and value in our community. To persevere is to show determination and endurance, even when we are discouraged or face difficulties. Perseverance is linked with self-control. Perseverance is also about having a go and keeping a positive attitude, and links in with our Growth Mindset work in class and our school vision to ‘Reach for the Stars’.
We believe that each of us is creative, but with different talents and abilities. Christians believe the world is full of created wonders and mysteries for us to discover and understand, and that we are part of that creation, made in God’s image and therefore made to be creative. At South Malling we value individuality and encourage each other to be creative in our thinking and doing. You can see many examples of our creativity and imaginative work in the classroom and on the walls around the school and in the celebration assemblies.
We are committed to promoting equality in all that we do, believing that this is vital for all of us to thrive together and understand that individual characteristics make people uniquely wonderful. We actively promote equality and diversity in all areas of school life.