How are British values taught?
Teaching British values to children improves their spiritual, moral social, and cultural (SMSC) development. British values underpin what it is to be a British citizen in a modern and diverse Britain, and promote moral and cultural understanding that celebrates the diversity of the UK. Promoting these fundamental British values will usually occur as part of SMSC development in schools, as per advice from the DfE.
What are these five British values?
the rule of law
tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
There are many ways in which we can support and promote British values. Here are some examples relating to each British value.
Pupils, parents, and staff should have the right to have their voices heard. This can be achieved through a pupil-elected school council, in which class representatives raise issues and suggest ideas for improvement. Parents and guardians should also be given the opportunity to express any concerns or queries through parent societies and parents' evenings.
The rule of law
The importance of law and rules should be referred to and reinforced to teach students to distinguish between right and wrong. The rule of law in British values teaches children to take responsibility for their own actions. Students should be taught the reasons behind rules and laws, how they govern and protect us, and the consequences of what happens when these laws are broken. Invite guest speakers to the school and allow children to get involved in workshops to reinforce this teaching.
Promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs in a safe environment. Teach children to take responsibility for their behaviour. Children should be supported to understand that they have rights and personal freedoms and should be advised on how to exercise these safely. Pupils should be supported to become as independent as possible. This can be demonstrated in various ways, for example, through PSHE lessons and assemblies.
Mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths or beliefs
Students should be taught how to respect those from different backgrounds. For example, giving pupils regular opportunities to learn about different cultures and beliefs will reinforce messages of respect and tolerance in British values. This will also allow them to understand that others may have religions and beliefs that differ from their own and to respect these differing viewpoints.
The main teaching principles for students learning about British values
The advice for all state-maintained and private schools:
- Encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied.
- Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law system.
- Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
- Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely.
- Enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services.
- Further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures.
- Encourage respect for other people.