The government has set out its definition of British Values as:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths
As a Catholic School we actively promote values, virtues and ethics that shape our pupils' character and moral perspective, through the teachings of the Church. We are confident that our continued focus on the Gospel Values will give our pupils the necessary awareness of what it means to be a good citizen and ensures that the children are ready for life in 21st Century Britain.
Through our curriculum for PSHCE, SEAL, RE, History and Geography as well as the general school aims, mission and ethos we are able to make real links between the values of our pupils and the lives of others in their community, country and the world in general. We teach about democracy, civic responsibility, rules and laws, the monarchy, equality, values and virtues, environmental awareness and understanding of other faiths.
We actively promote and model democracy by:
- Providing our children with a broad knowledge of and promoting respect for public institutions and services e.g. Visits to Parliament, Junior Citizens, Mayor visits into school, visits to/from Police, Fire Service, Local Councilors and debates.
- Teaching children how they can influence decision making through the democratic process e.g. School council, suggestion boxes, Parliament workshops.
- Encouraging pupils to become involved in decision making processes and ensuring they are listened to in school e.g. school council, open door policy for head and deputy, consultation groups, liaison between staff and pupils.
- Organising visits to the town hall, GLA and to Parliament.
- Teaching children how public services operate and how they can be part of a community. e.g. in Citizenship weeks with careers, outside agencies and partnership school.
- Modelling how perceived injustice can be peacefully challenged e.g. by teaching about inspirational figures such as Mother Teresa, Cardinal Manning, Oscar Romero and Elizabeth Fry.
Rule of Law
We actively promote and model the rule of law by:
- Ensuring school rules are clear and fair e.g. through our consistent behaviour policy.
- Looking at how the Ten Commandments form the basis for UK law
- Helping children to distinguish right from wrong e.g. by using the example of Christ when dealing with behaviour that is not acceptable.
- Promoting respect for the law and the basis on which it is made e.g. through visitors such as police and councilors into school.
- Helping children to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals e.g. through our RE curriculum, PSHCE and SEAL curriculum and through focus weeks and visitors.
- Having a behaviour policy that is linked to restorative justice e.g. that is based in the Christian value of forgiveness.
- Participating in Armistice Services within the community and meeting war veterans.
We actively promote and model individual liberty by:
- Supporting pupils to develop their self knowledge, self esteem and self confidence e.g. through our Catholic ethos and our way of treating people. Our Mini Vinnies and the annual Citizenship awards are evidence of our children's own passion for helping others.
- By investing heavily in meeting the needs of all of the children, by providing equality of opportunity and by knowing and understanding the needs of all of the children.
- Encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour as well as knowing their rights e.g. through linking rights with responsibilities, by having a fair and consistent behaviour management policy.
- Challenging stereotypes e.g. visitors into school, disability awareness, anti-bullying week. The school, governors and staff support taking several children on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France.
- Implementing a strong anti-bullying culture.
Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths
We actively promote and model respect and tolerance by:
- Promoting respect for individual differences e.g. through assemblies and masses, the RE curriculum, diversity of cultures represented in the school through our Catholic ethos.
- Helping children to acquire an understanding of and respect for their own and other cultures and ways of life e.g. through Geography, International Links, Religious Education and Multicultural awareness e.g. French Day and the International Day of European Languages
- Organising visits to places of worship and important religious/cultural icons e.g. Church, Cathedral, visits to Jewish Museum and Anne Frank's House. Residential visits to France, Rome and Holland.
- Openly discuss and celebrate the differences between people such as differences of faith, ethnicity, disability, gender and different family situations such as looked after children and young carers.
Our children's Mission Statement confirms and upholds our commitment to both British and Gospel values;
St. Helen’s is a Catholic School, learning about God, our world and living in harmony with each other.