British Values

The Department for Education has recently reinforced the 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.”

The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated this year (2014). These principles are enshrined in our school’s vision statement (see vision) and are delivered through a lively and engaging school environment which supports the development of all our children. The messages contained in this statement are for everyone who is part of our school community (not just our children).

DemocracyThe Rule of LawIndividual LibertyMutual RespectTolerance of different Faiths and Beliefs

Our vision states that: ‘Our children have it in them to make a difference and change the world around them for the better’. This statement is at the heart of our school’s philosophy and acts as a guiding light when working with our children.

Through our curriculum, we take this statement and make it real to our children. Together, they have to change something for the better. Something in themselves, our school, around our village community, or something further afield. They have to take time to think and reflect on what that would look like; a kind action, an improvement to their environment, something they just want to change for the better. Then together they make it happen.

Our children are supported to plan their ideas and discuss it with a wider audience – whether it’s their peers, the School Council, school leaders, Parish Councillors or our local Member of Parliament. The children make the difference.

School Council also has a strong voice. They meet weekly and have clear lines of communication. Minutes are posted on the school website and decisions taken improve school life. The position of School Councillor is coveted. It requires the development of an advanced skill sets such as; diplomacy, commitment, communication, persuasion, leadership and respect. To be voted by your peers to represent their views is a responsibility pupils take very seriously.

Pupils have a voice in everything they do at Knebworth. By listening to them, we learn, make adjustments and make improvements.

The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. This includes all individuals and all leaders. The law can be defined as: ‘a system of rules that are enforced through social institutions to govern behaviour.’

In order for the Rule of Law to be applied, some basic principles need to be upheld:

  • The laws are clear, publicised, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property.
  • The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
  • Justice is delivered in a timely manner by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

Knebworth has the highest expectations of everyone connected to our school community. Our expectations are enshrined through our Behaviour Policy and core values and made visible through our Code of Conduct and celebration of children’s achievements and examples of their commitment to our values.

These are known to all and applied through our daily work together, including through our curriculum. Our community vision states that: ‘we notice when our children are happy, content and proud to be one of our pupils. Equally, we notice when this is not so evident and work as a team to support that child and family to be successful within our school.’

This can be defined as ‘The state of being free; enjoying various social, political, or economic rights and privileges. The concept of liberty forms the core of all democratic principles.’

However, ‘The liberties guaranteed to individuals are not granted without restriction’. At Knebworth, children are encouraged to think, and explore options through their work and through developing their relationships with each other, but always with in the defined context of our Code of Conduct and school Behaviour Policy.

In their learning, they work with a variety of partners and in a variety of group situations in order to gain an understanding of each other. Through their interactions, they are often confronted with choice and having to make decisions. As a community, we strive to support each other to make decisions which support positive outcomes, even when making these decisions becomes challenging!

This is at the heart of our vision. ‘Every child is unique. Everything about them makes them special. At Knebworth every member of our team understands this and it is important to us that we help them grow as individuals and support them to be the person they are and the person they will become.’

This statement is supported in our work across our school community. We are all encouraged to understand ourselves and explore our sense of purpose in the world. Through gaining an understanding of ourselves and who we are, we can also begin to gain a sense of others. Being unique is what makes us special and this uniqueness is to be embraced, celebrated and cultivated by ourselves and by those around us.

Our school’s vision is that, ‘from the earliest age, we want our children to think deeply about the world that surrounds them and begin to understand their purpose within it. We want our pupils to understand kindness, care and compassion. We want them to be able to understand responsibility, respect and tolerance.’

Religious Education and PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education) gives our children time for reflection and supports their understanding of the different views people hold in our world. It can teach them tolerance and respect and help them to understand how their choices can impact on those around them. Through these discussions children can begin to shape and understand their own beliefs and reflect on their purpose in this world.’