The Department for Education has introduced a statutory duty for schools to promote British Values more actively from September 2014, and to ensure that they are taught in all schools. At Blackfriars Academy we take our commitment to this duty extremely seriously because we recognise that many of our students could be particularly vulnerable to external influences. We recognise the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom and our role in supporting our students to take their place in this society and especially their local community. We understand the vital role that our academy has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the academy 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, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. Blackfriars Academy is dedicated to preparing students for their adult life beyond the formal, examined curriculum and ensuring that it promotes and reinforces British values to all its students.The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy.The five key British Values are:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
These key values are taught implicitly and explicitly throughout the curriculum and examples of how we do that are cited below. However, on March 31st and April 1st 2015, we wanted to kick-start our students’ understanding ahead of the May 2015 General Election. Blackfriars was transformed into Medieval times as students were immersed in village life, learning crafts such as pottery making and basket weaving. ‘Richard the Baddie Baron’ disturbed the tranquillity of rural life by threatening to take all powers from the School Council and displacing the Head in favour of his own despotic rule. Over the next two days, Richard tried to encourage the students to vote for him in the secret ballot, offering inducements such as sweets. Working with Reveal Theatre Company (preferred deliverers of Prevent for the Home Office, West Midlands) the students began to develop strategies to help them to think carefully about who to trust and what to do when people exert influence. By the end of the two days, a vote took place using the ‘First past the Post’ system and the Baron was soundly defeated.
The examples that follow show some of the many ways Blackfriars Academy seeks to instil British Values through the curriculum and beyond.
The school has a democratically elected school council known as the Blackfriars Pride. Members from each tutor group are elected to form the Council. One of their primary functions is to uphold the values written into our own ‘Blackfriars PRIDE’
Pride in our appearance and in all that we achieve
Respect for ourselves, others and our environment
Inquisitive about learning
Determination to succeed
Enjoyment of learning and life
The School Council meet every term to discuss their form’s views and they then meet with the head of Academy to put forward the students’ voice. Regular update meetings are held between the Head and the Chair of the Council to ensure that Council matters are progressed. Students vote on various school decisions and are always encouraged to put forward their views. These are sought in a variety of ways appropriate to the needs of the students.
The rule of law
As part of PSHE lessons, the History curriculum and assemblies, students are taught the value and reasons behind laws. This is emphasised through the work that is undertaken to understand the Blackfriars’ rules, rights, responsibilities and rewards.
Choice-making is regularly taught and reinforced in our classrooms. With students who have profound and multiple learning disabilities, much of the curriculum is about helping them to recognise and make decisions for themselves (with support) Students are always encouraged to make individual choices, particularly about appropriate behaviours and the consequences of their actions.
This is modelled for students by every member of staff. Students are taught about respect and about caring for themselves and others on a daily basis and as part of the Personal Development programme. Students treat each other with respect, there are daily acts of kindness shown towards one another as well as more explicit opportunities through regular fundraising opportunities for all sorts of causes.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
As part of the Religious Education curriculum, tolerance and acceptance of other faiths and cultures is discussed, debated and encouraged. Assemblies also emphasise these values.