Bushey Meads School is committed to serving its community. The school embraces the belief that at the heart of a modern ever changing, multi cultural and multi-faith community is the acceptance of key British values which it is its responsibility to promote. In doing so, our learners will be able to grow as individuals and citizens in the community and country in which they live.
The school believes that this is something not only achieved through the curriculum but through the school’s core values and ethos as well as its provision for students beyond formal lessons.
Central to the advocacy of British values are the school’s
- strategic commitment purpose intent
- school motto “Aspire to Achieve”
- core values of “belief, motivation, success”
- motivational saying “From small seeds mighty trees grow”.
These guide and drive the direction of the school’s improvement but are also fundamental in supporting the development of British values.
The government set out its definition of “British Values” in its “Prevent Strategy”; values of
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
At Bushey Meads, democracy is taught within the humanities subjects so that, for example, in Citizenship students learn about the British electoral system and the idea of representation. In History students learn how Britain remained a democracy after the First World War whilst many countries in Europe became dictatorships and the nature of life under the two systems is contrasted. Moreover, in many lessons students are encouraged to voice their opinion and to defend it in debate as well as voting on the quality of student presentations.
The rule of law is taught in many subjects. For example, the importance of rules and laws are taught within CHOICE where Year 7 students are encouraged to create a system of values and laws for survivors on a desert island. Further up the school, students learn about laws in a variety of contexts including in ICT where they learn about laws relating to the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act. In P.E. students learn about the laws and rules of various sports and are given the responsibility of enforcing them when they officiate games.
Individual liberty and what it means is a value covered in CHOICE where Year 9 students learn about liberty in the context of studying human rights. In History, students learn about those fighting for the liberty of people subject to discrimination and oppression such as Olaudah Equiano and William Wilberforce. Equal opportunities is a Year 10 topic in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and throughout the Design and Technology curriculum students are provided with opportunities to choose who they will design products for.
Throughout the curriculum the importance of mutual respect is emphasised. Thus, in Religious Education students are encouraged to respect the views of those from particular faith backgrounds and those from none. In P.E., a focus on the “evaluating and improving” strand means that students are encouraged to appreciate each other’s efforts and skills.
Tolerance of those of different beliefs and faiths is not only a feature of R.E. but of other subject areas too. For example, in Catering lessons students learn about different cultures through studying themes such as cooking different foods and arranging parties with different themes whilst MFL students learn about different Francophone and Hispanic countries. Furthermore, all subjects contribute to the celebration of Black History Month each October where students learn about the achievements of different people from Black and ethnic minorities including those from a British context ranging from those such as Walter Tull to Mo Farrah.
These values are further embraced throughout the school curriculum in its focus on SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development).
In addition to the curriculum which students follow there are many other opportunities and activities which students participate in which underpin the promotion of British values. Student Voice activities give students a role in contributing to the life of the school as a learning community. There are many opportunities for students; as Student Learning Consultants, Form Reps (who meet in the Student Parliament), Charity Reps and as Faculty Ministers. Some subjects have their own subject leaders such as Sports Leaders in P.E.
The school also runs a Duke of Edinburgh award programme giving students the opportunity to develop their own individual skills and talents as well as taking part in the community service element. Through the many sporting activities and clubs such as those in Drama and Music, students have the opportunity to learn and reflect British values. School teams cannot win matches and trophies without understanding and following the rules of football and netball and without the players respecting each other’s’ skills and abilities. School productions cannot succeed without performers trusting and supporting one another.
The school’s Debating Society is another aspect of school life which contributes to the development of British values. Observing the process and etiquette of formal debating nurtures in students an awareness of democracy and mutual respect.
No school ever stands still and Bushey Meads is no exception. The school will continue to strive to ensure that its children and young people leave with the strongest foundation of values upon which to build a successful life and make a positive contribution to society.