The DFE has 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, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.’ At Ashlyns, these values are reinforced regularly in the following ways:
Democracy is deeply embedded within our culture; students have the opportunity for their voices to be heard through the School and Year Councils and Learning Ambassadors programme. Elections for Council posts and mock elections mirroring the British electoral cycle further embed the principle of student voice. Student voice, student questionnaires and meetings with the Senior Leadership Team during learning reviews also form part of our targeted approach to democracy, combined with regular consultation with students on areas such as our rewards and consequences policy.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the lesson, school or country, are consistently reinforced in lessons and through the behaviour policy and prefects system. Students 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 and assemblies from authorities such as the Police service and British politicians are a regular part of our school calendar and help reinforce this message.
Students are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised on how to exercise them safely; for example, through our PSHE and tutorial programme, students receive guidance on e-safety, safe behaviours and relationships. Students are given the freedom to make a wide range of choices, from attending extra-curricular activities and events to Activity Days.
Self-respect and respect for others lie at the heart of our core values and underpin our Rewards and Consequences behaviour system. It is modelled and required in every lesson and interaction with students. Within the curriculum, we focus heavily on teamwork and life-skills to target inter-personal areas such as self-management, teamwork, respect, religion, prejudice, sexuality, disability and body-image. The school actively promotes and encourages our students to experience, understand and engage with people from different backgrounds to foster respect for others, for example through programmes such as Sports Leaders and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
We encourage young people to learn from each other by sharing and celebrating their different faiths and cultures. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within lessons. RE and PSHE lessons help us to embed our ethos of tolerance and understanding, underpinned by regular topical assemblies, to break down potential misconceptions and challenge any stereotypes or prejudices. A range of newspapers and magazines are readily-accessible in our Learning Resource Centre, combined with TV coverage in the dining hall, which enables our young people to access a more holistic view of the world. Students are encouraged to be critical thinkers by reading a wide variety of news and understanding the importance of interpreting information carefully.