British Values and Rights Respecting School Award
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 have been reiterated each year. At Sowerby Community Primary School these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways.
At Sowerby Academy we work hard to raise awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child across the entire school as part of our work as a level 1 Unicef’s Rights Respecting school. Each year group has a representative who reports back from meetings they attend.
The children’s understanding of their rights has been developed through creating Classroom Charters. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter.
Children have many opportunities for their voices to be heard. We have a school council which meets regularly to discuss issues raised in school. The council members for each year group are voted in by their class.
Children have opportunity to complete an annual questionnaire with which they are able to put forward their views about the 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 regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies.
Pupils are taught the value 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 help reinforce this message.
Within school, 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 pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons.
Whether it be through choice of learning challenge, what particular interests the children have or deciding the direction of lessons in our creative curriculum, children are able to express their views. Children can also participate in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
As a Rights Respecting School, mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
We also seek to embed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) into our curriculum as widely as possible to help our children learn about the diverse world in which we live.
Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Our RE and PSHE teaching reinforce this.
Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
Rights Respecting Schools Award
The Rights Respecting Schools Award puts children’s rights at the heart of schools.
Why are we working towards the award?
“The UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA) supports schools across the UK to embed children’s human rights in their ethos and culture. The award recognises achievement in putting the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of a school’s practice to improve well-being and help all children realise their potential.
The award is based on principles of equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation. The initiative started in 2006 and schools involved in the Award have reported a positive impact on relationships and well-being, leading to better learning and behaviour, improved academic standards and less bullying.”
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Sowerby Primary Academy has a group of RRS Ambassadors led by Miss Armstrong and was established summer 2017. They meet regularly to discuss the school and how they can help improve things. They are also organise a number of events, assemblies and activities to raise awareness of Children’s Rights and the world we live in. We are hoping to achieve Level 1 this year.