St. Catherine’s Catholic Primary School
British Values and Our Catholic Ethos
The government set out its definition of ‘British values’ in the ‘Prevent Strategy’, 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.
At St. Catherine’s, we recognise, not only the importance of helping pupils 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. Catherine’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 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 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 and should be seen as an indication of our approach rather than an exhaustive list.
Pupils are courteous, helpful to each other and behave well. In lessons, behaviour is often excellent. Pupils feel very safe in school.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the School 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. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service are regular parts of our learning programmes and help reinforce this message.
Within St. Catherine’s, pupils are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. As a School, we educate and provide a boundary for pupil’s to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. We encourage pupils to see themselves as unique individuals able to make a unique contribution to building community.
The consistently good behaviour of pupils helps lessons to proceed smoothly in the friendly atmosphere of this orderly school. In many lessons, behaviour is excellent as pupils work together and try their very best. Pupils behave well at break times and take their responsibilities as playground leaders very seriously when they look after the play equipment and befriend others.
Pupils say they feel very safe in school and parents agree. They show a good understanding of how to keep safe, for example when riding bikes or using the internet. Pupils were emphatic in saying the school looks after them exceptionally well.
School records show that bullying is rare. Pupils also say it is infrequent and when it happens they are confident that adults will soon sort it out. Pupils are unanimous in saying that everyone gets on well together and nobody is treated badly because they are different. They have a good understanding of different forms of bullying because they have been taught about this in class.
Respect is one of the core values of our School and is modelled by pupils and staff alike. The School promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments as well as extra-curricular activities such as sport. In line with our commitment to democracy, students are always able to voice their opinions as we foster an environment where students can debate ideas and are safe to disagree with each other. Our emphasis on ethics, fairness and justice means that we ask our pupils to ensure that they look out for those who might be marginalised and disadvantaged. The School has taken a very strong stance on social inclusion and anti-bullying through an explicit focus on strategies to enable respect for difference through, for example, reflections on all forms of bullying.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
This is achieved through equipping pupils with the ability to develop positive values, understand their own beliefs and their place in a culturally diverse society. We give our pupils opportunities to experience such diversity within the wider community. All pupils experience a connection with other cultures and beliefs through our RE Curriculum, theme days and local, regional and international links. The emphasis on enterprise, working with others, and learning other languages directly contributes to the appreciation of others perspectives on life. Our RE 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.
“We are proud that Catholic schools promote values that are both Catholic and British, including:
respect for the individual,
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).