British Values

Statement of British values

At New Silksworth Academy, we help our young people grow into caring, responsible and tolerant adults, who can make a positive difference to British society and to the wider world.

Our school accepts admissions from all those entitled to an education under British law, including students of all faiths or none. We promote equal opportunities, and do not discriminate against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political views or financial status.

At New Silksworth Academy we understand that character education is every bit as crucial to our pupils’ development as academic success. Our values and learning behaviours are designed to actively promote and complement the five fundamental British values identified by the Department for Education: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

These are values that have come to be accepted throughout the democratic world, helping to create a safe and supportive society.

We teach our pupils the importance of being kind, compassionate and respectful to everyone that they meet, irrespective of their faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class or any other perceived differences.

British values permeate our curriculum, we provide ample opportunities for our pupils to develop a strong moral foundation and a drive to make a positive impact in their local community, Britain and beyond.

At New Silksworth Academy, we actively promote British values in the following ways:

Democracy

Our pupils are introduced to the concept of “democracy” and “the majority vote” from a young age, participating in School Council elections (where representatives are elected by way of a democratic process) and engaging in a wide range of discussions concerning issues that directly affect them. Pupil voice is considered to be of utmost importance, and members of the School Council are encouraged to vote on key issues that are likely to affect their classmates, as well as bringing their own proposals to staff for consideration.

Each year, children have multiple opportunities to learn about democracy and exercise their democratic rights. Year 6 children campaign to be elected Head Boy or Head Girl and after listening to their speeches, every child gets to vote for who they want to represent the school during that academic year. In addition to this, each class elects a representative to each of our student committees which include: School Council, Eco Council and the Rights Respecting Council. Having a range of democratically elected student committees means that children of all ages can effect positive changes within school. We also have strong relationships with some of our democratic representatives within the wider community and have had visits from Bridget Philipson MP and Sunderland’s Deputy Mayor. During National Parliament Week, children learn information about the democratic institutions within the UK and how the decisions made by politicians impact on our daily lives. Children are encouraged to share their views whilst respecting those of others and have been developing their speaking and listening skills through the use of Skills Builder resources; this is then put into practise throughout the curriculum where children compete in debates or where they write persuasive pieces.

Pupils are encouraged to become politically aware from a young age and participate in debates concerning age-appropriate issues, developing arguments for and against carefully-chosen topics. In doing so, they learn how to put forward a strong case for causes they believe in.

Democracy is also introduced through our PSHE curriculum. Pupils explore and investigate the themes of democracy, fairness and equality. These issues are also explored in other curriculum areas and through events and learning enhancements.

Rule of law

We believe it is important for pupils to understand why rules are in place, the purpose that they serve, and the consequences of breaking them. We are keen to create an environment where pupils are able to clearly distinguish between right and wrong; and do the right thing because they want to, not simply because they feel compelled to. A key part of achieving this is through helping pupils to understand that rules are essential in order to safeguard their wellbeing, protect the welfare of others, and ensure that everybody has the opportunity to fully achieve their potential. We also teach them to understand the relationship between cause and effect and the importance of taking responsibility for their own actions, which is vital to becoming a productive and upstanding member of society.

In order to ensure that pupils respect our rules, we take care to apply them fairly and consistently so that boundaries – and the repercussions of overstepping them – are clearly defined. Our high expectations with regard to behaviour are regularly reinforced during assemblies. Pupils are rewarded and celebrated for exemplary behaviour, attendance and academic performance.

We organise visits from individuals in the legal and judicial sectors, police officers, members of the Fire Service, and road safety officers to reinforce the importance of respecting rules and the repercussions of breaking them.

Individual liberty

Our safe and supportive environment helps pupils and students develop self-knowledge, self-confidence and a growth mind set in all areas of school life, including beyond the classroom through participation in our many extra-curricular clubs and activities. Independent learning is encouraged and we offer frequent opportunities for our pupils to grow in maturity and independence.We are committed to keeping our pupils safe, happy and well, and we empower them to make sensible and informed choices by providing guidance on a range of key topics, such as online safety, bullying, staying safe and respectful relationships– all of which are built into the PSHE curriculum in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner. These issues are also explored in assemblies and interactive workshops.

Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, recognise when these are being violated, and what to do/who to approach if they are concerned about this.

We also understand that our pupils must make their own choices and learn from their own mistakes as part of establishing their identity as individuals, and we encourage them to do so within the context of a supportive, positive and non-judgmental environment, where developing their self-esteem and self-confidence is of primary importance. Pupils are encouraged to make independent choices, resist peer pressure, and take responsibility for their own actions.

All of our pupils are valued for their individual talents and contributions and are encouraged to pursue their specific areas of interest through a variety of enrichment, sporting and leadership activities. We encourage pupils to see themselves as unique individuals, able to make a unique contribution to society, whilst also emphasising the importance of teamwork in achieving their goals.

Lessons are differentiated to ensure that pupils are sufficiently challenged and they are encouraged to engage in independent learning during lesson time and as part of their home learning activities.

Mutual respect

Respect is extremely important, we define this as simply, “treating others as we wish to be treated.” This is evidenced in the charity work and community projects our pupils undertake. It is also evident in our zero-tolerance approach to bullying; the strong sense of community and camaraderie felt by all of our pupils and the high standards that characterise our teaching and learning environments.

Pupils are encouraged to communicate openly and honestly, and to listen to – and respect the views of others, even in instances where disagreements arise. We expect all pupils in leadership roles, as well as our staff members, to model exemplary behaviour and conduct themselves in a manner that commands the respect worthy of someone in a position of authority.

Assemblies and class work are designed to highlight the diverse nature of British society and the right for each person to be respected for their choices. We teach pupils that they should never judge a person, and encourage them to become compassionate, open-minded and accepting.

Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

We aim to promote not only tolerance, but also a genuine understanding of different faiths and beliefs by offering a culturally rich and diverse curriculum. We encourage all pupils to embrace the culturally diverse society in which they live and give pupils opportunities to experience this diversity through visitors, workshops and enhancements.

We help our pupils to develop an understanding of, and respect for, their own and other cultures. For example, through our PSHE and our Religious Studies curriculum, our pupils are encouraged to discuss and respect the differences and similarities between people.

In addition, all at New Silksworth Academy are encouraged to challenge any prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour.

We believe our School ethos, vision and curriculum, reflects and promotes British values. We ensure the education provided at New Silksworth Academy helps develop our pupils into good local, national and global citizens of the future.