What are ‘fundamental British values’?
Saint Joseph’s is required to provide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of their pupils. As part of this requirement, we are expected to actively promote fundamental British values.
The government defines these as:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
What does this mean for my child?
Our efforts to promote fundamental British values are designed to prepare children for life in modern Britain.
Ultimately, we aim to help pupils understand:
- The importance of combatting discrimination
- How we can influence decision-making by taking part in democratic processes like voting and petitioning
- Our freedom under British law to choose different faiths and beliefs
- That the law is there to keep us safe.
What does this look like in school?
The values are reflected throughout Saint Joseph’s ethos, policies and assemblies.
Children also engage with the values through the curriculum, in ways that are suitable for their age and context. For example, in some subjects there are opportunities to think about traditions from different cultures and religions.
Extra-curricular activities such as games teach children about the importance of rules. Pupil votes, questionnaires and councils are other ways that children can have their voices heard and learn about democracy.
Our duty to actively promote fundamental British values means that we always present political views to children in a balanced way. We are also responsible for challenging prejudiced or extreme opinions and behaviour. As part of this responsibility, we have put measures in place to protect children from exposure to extremist views.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my child still be able to express his/her faith at school?
Absolutely. One of the fundamental values is respect and tolerance of people with different faiths, and we teach our children that British law protects their freedom to hold their own beliefs. Any prejudice or discrimination towards pupils on the basis of their faith goes against the fundamental British values and will not be tolerated by the school.
How does this affect my child’s lessons?
Saint Joseph’s curriculum provides lots of opportunities to address elements of fundamental British values. Your child will already have some experience of this in lessons such as Religious Education (RE) where we routinely cover the Gospel values that lie at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching. Our teachers will plan for these opportunities and encourage children to think about how the fundamental British values link into the topics they are studying.
Does this mean major changes to the school’s ethos?
Our school’s Catholic ethos already includes many aspects of the government’s fundamental British values. For example, we expect our children to follow the school rules and show kindness, respect and tolerance to one another. Promoting fundamental British values reinforces, not changes, our ethos.
Where to go for more information
If you have any questions or concerns about British values and what it means for your child, please contact the school.
Government guidance on promoting British values in schools.