Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural
British Values and Our Catholic Ethos
The government set out its definition of ‘British values’ in the ‘Prevent Strategy’ (2011), which was designed to prevent the extremism and religious radicalization of young people. British values are considered by the present government to be democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. The promotion of ‘British values’ is central to Catholic education because British values have their origin in the Christian values of our nation.
We are proud that Catholic schools promote values that are both Catholic and British, including: respect for the individual, democracy, individual liberty, respect, tolerance and inclusiveness. Our schools promote cohesion by serving more ethnically diverse and poorer communities. Catholic schools provide high standards of education which are popular with parents from all social, economic and faith backgrounds.
- Paul Barber (Catholic Education Service 15 December 2014).
At St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary Voluntary Academy we recognise, not only the importance of helping students to flourish academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, so they are fully prepared for life in British society and for their role as citizens, able to make the strongest possible contribution to the Common Good of all.
We teach the importance of British Values by going much deeper into the meaning of what it means to live a good life, within a framework of Catholic Christian Values. This provides the context and meaning for understanding why British values are important. Our framework for understanding British values draws on the example of Jesus and his welcome and inclusion of all, which is developed in Catholic Social Teaching. At St. Joseph’s we provide an education which focuses on the formation of the whole person and on our vocation and purpose in life. We are guided by our mission statement ‘We Value All in the Name of Jesus the Christ’ and by the Christian values of honourable purpose (that is, vocation and service), respect, compassion, co-operation and stewardship as we reflect on our place and purpose in the world. We place a significant emphasis on the celebration of individuality and difference within our communities and our calling to work for the Common Good, in the service of others.
Our Catholic ethos, which includes explicit reference to Christian and British values, makes a tangible difference to the way we work together and with our wider communities. Within this framework it would be impossible to overlook the government’s view of British values expressed as ‘democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.’ The examples that follow are an indication of some of the many ways we seek to embed British values at St. Joseph’s and should be seen as an indication of our approach rather than an exhaustive list.
- We have a school council which meets weekly.
- We highlight the development of democratic ideas in history lessons
- Pupils are involved in voting for Head Boy/ Head Girl
- Pupils vote for their representatives of each House.
- We Ensure all pupils are listened to by adults
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the Academy, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout every day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through assemblies. The curriculum is designed to ensure pupils are taught the values and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
- Classes collectively create their own “class rules”
- There is a clear behaviour policy that is adhered to by all
- visits from the police service to reinforce the message of right and wrong
- Highlighting the rules of the Church and God in the RE curriculum, for example the 10 commandments and the Precepts of the Church
Within St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy pupils are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. We encourage pupils to see themselves as unique individuals able to make a unique contribution to different communities. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and receive advice about how to exercise these safely, for example through our exploration of ESafety, which is continuously being reinforced.
- We encourage pupils to become independent learners
- Provide students with opportunities for reflection as they take responsibility to stand up for others and for themself
Respect is one of the core values at St. Joseph’s and one of our Golden rules, pupils are taught throughout their education of the importance of treating everyone with respect, just as we are taught in the Gospels. We promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments as well as extra-curricular activities such as sport. Our emphasis on ethics, fairness and justice means that we are a fully inclusive school and teach the pupils the importance of ensuring the mission statement, ‘We Value all in the name of Jesus the Christ’, permeated through everything which happens on a day to day basis, within St. Joseph’s. There is a zero tolerance to bullying.
‘Pupils are adamant that there is no bullying at their academy. They told inspectors that they have no concerns over this, but are confident that should bullying ever occur it would be immediately sorted by the staff. Pupils are aware of different kinds of bullying and how to deal with them. They are clear about the differences between, for example, children teasing each other and bullying.’ OFSTED May 2013.
- At St Joseph’s we have a mission statement which is fully inclusive
- Staff and pupils are constantly promoting respect for others as good manners
- There is an effective anti-bullying policy
- RE and PSCHE lessons emphasise that every person is unique and “created in the image of God”
- Having active educational links with other schools within the area
- Each House is linked to supporting a different charity
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
This is achieved through equipping students with the ability to develop positive values, understand their own beliefs and their place in a culturally diverse society.
Our Religious Studies curriculum follows the teaching of the Church in providing a broad and balanced education, which includes an understanding of and respect for people of other faiths or none and other religions, cultures and lifestyles.
SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development and is an important part of our teaching and ethos at Saint Joseph’s.
Every class in KS1 and 2 has discrete lessons that follow the school’s long term plan for SMSC. We use the Go Givers website as a basis for our lessons; this provides teaching plans and resources that allow teachers to cover the curriculum for their year group in the required depth. Lessons are usually practical and discussion based, giving children a chance to express their views and explore their thinking. As well as the discrete lessons, we cover all areas of the SMSC curriculum during school life
- spiritual development through the Come and See RE scheme and the strongly spiritual ethos of the school.
- moral development through giving children a well developed policy that encourages children to suggest their own rules, see the consequences of their actions and take responsibility for their behaviour.
- Social development through voting in mock elections and referendums as well as for roles within the school such as school councillors, head pupils etc. All classes have visitors from outside the school every term and children support a variety of charities and causes, both in our local area and further afield.
- Cultural development through work on different faiths, visitors from different cultures and backgrounds, school trips and visits and work on national events such as the Queen’s birthday, local and national elections and international events.