Catholic life and British Values

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 radicalisation 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.

At St Joseph’s 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. The Social, Spiritual, Moral and Cultural Development of pupils is important to us and one way in which we foster this is by promoting our ‘Gospel Values’ alongside our British Values.   Our policies, procedures and daily teaching are underpinned by these 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. 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.’

Our weekly Gospel assembly, whole school, key stage and class collective worship are based around the Gospel Values, which forms an important focus in the daily life of our school.

Courage, creativity, thankfulness, responsibility, compassion, peace, service, justice, trust, hope, love, forgiveness, friendship, humility, generosity and reverence and respect.

As well as actively promoting Gospel and British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental Gospel and British values, including ‘extremist’ views.  The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of most western European countries, for example.

Below are just a few examples of how we promote Gospel and British values.  The first section is a general overview; the others are specific expectations set out by Ofsted.  Schools are subject to a duty (Section 26, Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015) to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty. At the foot of this page there is some information to support parents in discussions about extremism and preventing radicalisation.

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.

Democracy: Respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic process.

Links to Gospel Values of Service & sacrifice, Humility & Gentleness and Equality: Proverbs 14:15 “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”
Links to the UN Convention of Children’s Rights:
Article 12: Children have the right to say what they think should happen, when adults are making decisions that affect them, and to have their opinions taken into account.

Our behaviour management approach encourages:

Children to create rules for conduct and learning, which permit discussion and agreement between each other , before committing them to practice.

  • Children have an opportunity to join school council and be an active participant in decisions made in the school, as well as developing life skills such as public speaking, teamwork and negotiation.

  • Children represent others’ views, as well as their own in meetings and use “majority rulings”.

  • Children from Y3– Y6 are voted onto the school council and meet weekly as part of the School Development plan to review school practice as well as plan for the future.

  • Children have the opportunity each year to apply for a school job and are interviewed for their positions (Friendly 15, class chaplains, playground buddies, class ambassadors, school bankers).

  • Children are encouraged to stand up for their beliefs, express their opinions clearly but at the same time respecting the right to disagree. We find opportunities to do this in PSHCE, circle time, class, key stage and whole school worship, in English and Topic lessons, where moral dilemmas and situations may be debated and considered.

  • Children are rewarded with certificates and dojo points for demonstrating the values of equality – for example treating new children to school in a welcoming and respectful way, regardless of their background or religion.

  • Children are taught about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and learn to respect their rights and the rights of others.

The Rule of Law: Respect for the basis on which the law is made and applies in England. Support for equality of opportunity for all.

Links to the Gospel Values of Truth & Justice, Forgiveness & Mercy and Courage:Romans 2:13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

Links to the UN Convention of Children’s Rights Article 19: Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for, and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them.

At the start of every school year, children create a set of mutually agreed rules for conduct and learning behaviours, which they agree to adhere to once decided. We have also negotiated various reward and sanction systems within our behavioural management policy, that are applied consistently.

  • Our behaviour policy and teaching is underpinned by the value of forgiveness. Where appropriate, we would seek to use “restorative justice”, such as writing letters of apology, cards and how to restore relationships. This helps encourage the concept of atonement. Staff may also talk through the situation in a structured way, to help children to understand consequences.

  • Children are taught discrete lessons about the structure of British Parliament and the school council visit Parliament virtually.

  • Children participate in nominating and electing class school council representatives.

  • Through our school assemblies, circle time and PSH and theme days children are taught how to earn trust and respect and are supported to develop a strong sense of morality; knowing right from wrong and doing the right thing even when it’s difficult.

  • The local police officer / PCSO visit the school to talk to the children and explain about their role in society.

  • Children are taught about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and learn to respect their rights and the rights of others.

Individual Liberty: Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law.

Links with the Gospel Values of Faithfulness & Integrity and Purity & Holiness:

James 1:25 “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
Links with the UN Convention of Children’s Rights
 Article 31: All children have a right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of activities.

Article 15: Children have the right to meet together and to join groups and organisations, as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying their rights

Children are taught about rights and specifically taught about the UN Bill of Human Rights.

  • Lessons about rights are tackled in history/PSHCE, when discussing how in the past, people’s rights have not been respected, such as in times of slavery and war.

  • In RE, collective worship and Topic/English work about biographies, we study and discuss examples of individuals who have stood up for their beliefs and shown great faith and courage in times of adversity and struggle such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Maximillian Kolbe.

  • Children are taught how to keep themselves safe, including on-line. This is done through computing lessons and as well as through the PSHE curriculum.

  • Children are taught about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and learn to respect their rights and the rights of others.

  • Through our Gospel Values and the Gogivers program and vocation theme days, children are taught about personal responsibility, choices, ambition and aspiration. They are encouraged to take opportunities to follow their interests in art, music, sport etc. and given opportunities to do this through a range of school clubs.

Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs: Respect for and acceptance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs.
Links with the Gospel Values of Dignity & Compassion, Tolerance & Peace and Equality
Mark 12:31 “The second is this: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Hebrews 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
Links with the UN Convention of Children’s Rights:
Article 14: Children have the right to think and believe what they want, and to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Parents should guide their children on these matters.

We offer a broad and balanced curriculum that has a local, national and international dimension.

  • We follow the Nottingham Diocese Syllabus for Religious Education that has a multi- faith element ( Come and See)

  • We work to ensure that our resources do not promote stereotypes and celebrate diversity

  • We invite other members of other faith groups in to our school, watch educational films and talk to children which help challenge any negative stereotypes.

  • Our staff, children, school councillors, play leaders and friendly 15 actively promote tolerance and help children to resolve their differences.

  • Our acts of worship schedule, includes reference to significant holy days of other faith and how there are common values shared between all faith groups. This helps fosters greater understanding.

  • We actively celebrate holy days of other faiths.

  • We invite children to pray with us or to sit respectfully and to listen as we pray together.
    • Parents of children who are not Catholic have the right to withdraw their children from RE lessons or acts of worship.

  • Parents and the community are invited to worship with us.

  • Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs is promoted through Faith based theme days.

  • Children learn about different religions, their beliefs, places of worship and festivals. The children’s work on this subject or whole school learning in assemblies is often displayed in the classrooms or around the school. This is supplemented by assemblies (Key Stage and whole school), which often mark and celebrate significant religious festivals such as Ramadan and Diwali.

  • Visits are made by local religious leaders and children have the opportunity to visit places of worship.

  • Children are taught about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and learn to respect their rights and the rights of others.