Fundamental British Values
The government has defined ‘British Values’ as being: democracy; individual liberty; the rule of law; mutual respect; tolerance of those with different faiths and belief. Highsted recognises that these values should be central to our ethos and are promoted not only through our curriculum and its content but every aspect of school life. It is the duty of every member of staff to support and promote these values as detailed in the current Teacher Standards Part Two: Personal and Professional Conduct.
- The Department for Education introduced a statutory duty for schools to promote British Values more actively and to ensure they are taught in schools. At Highsted, we recognise the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. We understand the vital role we have in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.
- We follow equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. We are committed to preparing pupils for their adult life and ensuring that we promote and reinforce British values to all our pupils.
The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy and clarified its expectation of schools to go beyond ‘respecting British values’ in 2014.
Fundamental British Value: Democracy can be seen as a state of society characterised by equality of rights and privileges. It can also refer to our nation's electoral systems. At Highsted we promote the importance of democracy by valuing:
- Positions of responsibility eg form captains, senior prefects, sports leaders, anti-bullying ambassadors;
- Student Voice: staff appointments, meetings with governors, within the pastoral system;
- How we promote learning by working collaboratively, enabling students to respond to teacher feedback in books, questioning students carefully, and engaging students in dialogue;
- School Council and Swale Youth Forum through to Public Speaking;
- Students by giving all of them the opportunity to access the curriculum.
Fundamental British Value: Individual Liberty suggests the free exercise of rights generally seen as outside Government control. At Highsted we promote the importance of individual liberty through approaches such as:
- Students are introduced to a range of beliefs and experiences so that they are able to make more informed choices for themselves.
- Students are taught the knowledge and skills to broaden the choices they are empowered to make about future work, travel and education.
- Student viewpoints are integral to the options process for KS4/5.
- The existence of extra-curricular activities and clubs, including trips.
- Students are encouraged to voice views about learning in a constructive way.
Fundamental British Value: Rule of Law: All people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced. At Highsted we promote the importance of the rule of law through:
- The ‘Home School Agreement’ (HSA) signed by students and parents when they join the school;
- Stressing accountability to all stakeholders including staff (Teacher's Standards), students (HSA), and Governors (checking processes);
- Liaising closely with outside agencies eg the Social Services and the Police;
- Using visiting speakers from the Police, Fire Brigade, Health Professionals;
- The Acceptable Use Policy is used to promote correct use of the internet;
- Students being taught the legal framework on a number of contemporary and social issues e.g. PSHCEE, RE, Science and the wider curriculum;
- Our Safeguarding Policy that underpins staff induction and ongoing training.
Fundamental British Value: Mutual Respect: The proper regard for an individual's dignity, which is reciprocated. At Highsted we promote the importance of mutual respect in a variety of ways:
- Assemblies establish our ethos and are led by staff and students;
- Extra-curricular activities foster collaboration and build character: sports teams;
- Behaviour policy, Home School Agreement;
- Single Equality Policy & SEND;
- How we speak, how we dress and how we conduct ourselves.
Fundamental British Value: Tolerance towards those of different faiths and beliefs can be understood by possessing a fair, objective, and permissive attitude to those whose faith and beliefs may differ from one's own. We do not believe that difference is something to be feared but can strengthen and enrich us; At Highsted we promote tolerance towards those of different faiths and beliefs through:
- RE being taught to all students across KS3 & KS4 and embracing religious diversity. Visits to a range of places of diverse religious significance occur across year groups;
- Our curriculum helps students to learn about a wide range of people, cultures and beliefs and so develops students' ability to make informed decisions and be confident in their own identity, as well as understand and respect that of others;
- Assemblies that draw inspiration from a range of different faiths and cultures.
The aims of the school, as set out in the Headteacher’s Welcome message on the school website, incorporate the principles of the fundamental British values that the school actively promotes:
- Challenging and inspiring our students to achieve their personal aspirations, explore their own potential, nurture existing talents and interests whilst discovering new ones along the way;
- Developing the skills, attributes and habits of mind that will equip our young women as life-long learners;
- Encouraging the pursuit of excellence in academic, sporting and cultural spheres;
- Providing a caring environment that enables our students to thrive socially and academically;
- Maximising the advantage that being a girls’ grammar school can bring to our students, our parents, our local community and beyond.
To find out more about British Values at Highsted, please click here.