The DfE have 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 were reiterated in 2014. At Park Hall Academy, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is embedded within our academy. We teach all children the importance of listening carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. At Park Hall we place great importance on listening to the Pupil Voice. We elect our own Park Hall Parliament, Junior Leadership Team, Sports Ambassadors and Sports Leaders, a Be Safe Committee, and Playground Leaders. This is done in a democratic way. Each class votes for their own School Parliament Representative member who is responsible for ensuring that the views of their class are heard at Parliament. The elections of the School Parliament reflect our British electoral system and demonstrate democracy in action.
The School Parliament are extremely proactive within our academy. In the academic year 2015, they introduced "Ant and Dec" the first Park Hall Pets as new additions to the Park Hall family. (Once again, the names of our Giant Rabbits were chosen democratically by the children). Parliament are responsible for ensuring children throughout the academy care for our new family members.
In the summer term, Parliament designed our enviable outdoor learning environment, of which we are all very proud. This has led to an increase in the number of pupils engaging in active play at lunchtimes too, as this area is used by our Key Stage 1 pupils at lunchtimes. Parliament listened to the Pupil Voice throughout the design process and as a result, the Smooga, an outdoor ball area was installed onto our playground to enable our children to play active games, whilst leaving other areas of our playgrounds designed into zones to ensure that fast play and quieter areas remain distinct. Happier and healthier children all round!
The Junior Leaders apply for this position of responsibility and require a reference from a member of the community. A similar approach is used to elect members of the Be Safe Committee and Playground Leaders. Before appointment to the committee, future leaders are invited to talk to school staff and children who have previously held these posts to talk about the positive contribution that they will make to the school. Each year the Parliament is invited to take part in The Local Democracy (Mandate for change) at the local town Hall, where they discuss with other local schools, what works for young people in the local area and what could be improved. These ideas are forwarded directly to Stoke-on-Trent council.
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the academy, or the country, is consistently reinforced at Park Hall Academy. Pupils are taught from entry into Nursery our School Expectations. These were created by The School Parliament and are our Golden Rules. Our Expectations are applied consistently across our academy so that all children have a clear understanding of what is expected of them throughout their learning journey.
Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind our Expectations, rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. We discuss with children their rights and responsibilities. They understand that it is everyone's responsibility to follow each of our expectations and that they have a responsibility towards everyone else in our Park Hall family. For example, our children understand that they have a right to feel safe, but along with this goes a responsibility to ensure that everyone else feels safe too.
Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message. 'Rules', 'Right and Wrong' and 'Laws' are taught and embedded as part of our daily life. All adults in school are excellent role models for children and seek to develop each child's spiritual, moral, cultural and social development.
At Park Hall Academy, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school, we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make informed choices, through a nurturing ethos and an empowering education.
Pupils are given the freedom to make choices; they will choose to take part in challenges. Our Learning Log, home learning projects give children the freedom to independently take responsibility for their own learning. Children produce some amazing models, power point presentations and are exceptionally creative in the ways in which they present and take pride in managing their own learning journey.
Our core values in school were created with all members of the school community. These are deeply embedded in all that we do within our Park Hall family. Respect is one of our core values and children know and understand what is expected and that it is imperative that everyone within school is shown respect. The core value of respect underpins everything we do in our school. Visitors often comment on the fact that our children will not only greet them with a smile but also hold doors open for visitors too.
Pupils are encouraged to understand their rights, through the exploration of our expectations. They are taught how to exercise their personal rights safely, for example through our E-Safety curriculum.
Our core value of Respect ensures that our children are tolerant of all beliefs and faiths. We embrace and celebrate difference, valuing each individual as special and unique. We enhance our children's understanding of faiths and beliefs through our Religious Education Curriculum and assemblies. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning. We recognise that the development of pupils, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally plays a significant part not only in their ability to learn and achieve but in their ability to relate fully to and have the ability to access the world they live in. We are therefore passionate about ensuring that our children are given opportunities in every area of the curriculum to develop and grow as young people that are determined to make a positive contribution to others and the world around them.
At Park Hall, we actively challenge pupil's staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to these fundamental British Values, including "extremist" views.