Teaching British Values
In June 2014 Michael Gove set out plans for all school children to be taught ‘British Values’. As a Special School we believe that our students should learn about these values enabling them to contribute positively as citizens of their local and wider communities.
We value the diversity and differences of all our pupils and celebrate this through our culture, ethos, approach to lessons and the respectful relationships we promote. We believe that commitment and celebration of our diversity makes us collectively stronger, tolerant and respectful of the differences in our community and the wider world.
British Values are defined by the Government as: democracy; the rule of Law; individual liberty; mutual respect; and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. At Montacute School we aim to make this meaningful for our students through our enrichment activities, community visits, lessons, inclusion links, assemblies and our Social, Cultural, Moral and Spiritual Curriculum.
At Montacute School we have achieved ‘Recognition of Commitment’ award from UNICEF for introducing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to our students, staff, families, stakeholders and the local and international community. We are actively working towards achieving the Rights Respecting Schools Level 1 Award. As part of this work we teach our young people about the rights of every child and ultimately their responsibility to ensure other children have their rights respected too. Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.
Through our Religious Education curriculum all pupils will learn about key faiths, as well as Christian celebrations and rites of passage. Our students visit local places of worship and we celebrate key Christian Festivals, often at our local church. We have found this enables our students to develop awareness and understanding of Christianity, whilst learning about other faiths helps to develop tolerance towards others.
We also have a School Council. There are representatives of most classes in school and the council elects the officers annually through an election. The School Council meets monthly for general business where they follow an agenda and take minutes. Students on the council learn to vote and take part in democratic decisions such as deciding on the school’s annual charity or the colour of the school uniform. The Council also meets more often for on-going projects such as developing School Charters, a new school logo, and feeding back their views in to school effectiveness such as ‘What is good teaching?’. With the support of the School’s Speech and Therapy team we are promoting ‘Pupil Voice’ to enable our students to learn to self advocate, contribute, discuss, and co-operate.
Our School Council Officers represent our school at the Poole Special Educational Needs Youth Council and attend Authority wide conferences looking at issues such as ‘Anti-bullying’.
We are involved in a Comenius Project with three schools from Southern Ireland, Germany and Austria. We have hosted visiting students and staff from these schools, and some of our students have visited their schools and countries. This has enabled our young people to experience different cultures and languages first hand. We have been working on a joint project to ‘build bridges’, learn more about the UNCRC and form friendships across borders.
Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service; Ambulance etc. are regular parts of our calendar. Students regularly visit ‘Streetwise’ and learn about road safety, emergency services, railway safety and bus safety. In learning how to be safe, they also learn about the ‘rules’ and ‘laws’ that help to keep them safe.
We have a whole school approach to Positive Behaviour where the whole school community is actively involved in recognising and acknowledging Rights Respecting behaviour in members of our school community. To encourage students to see themselves as part of a whole community, ‘Good Citizen’ awards given to individuals accumulate and contribute to a ‘whole school reward’ chosen through a democratic process by the students.