The Department for Education has introduced a statutory duty for schools to promote British Values more actively from September 2014, and to ensure they are taught in schools.
Abbey College is committed to serving its community. It recognises the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. It also understands the vital role it has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.
It follows equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. Abbey College 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
The academy uses strategies within the national curriculum and beyond to secure such outcomes for students. The examples that follow show some of the many ways Abbey College seeks to instil British Values.
Students at Abbey College play an essential role in the decision making process and are consulted in shaping all of the systems that we have in the school. Each commit group voted for their representative to be part of the school council. Within the house system, students vote to choose the house charity. In addition to this students have formed part of the working parties to create our ‘Good Learning Habits’, new prefect system and to shape the vision of the school. Student questionnaires are regularly used to inform these focus groups, for example all students had the opportunity to complete a questionnaire regarding the prefect system.
The rule of law
Abbey College has a comprehensive behaviour policy, our commit charter, which has been designed by our students. All students know and understand the rationale behind this as well as the consequences of breaking the commit charter. We also have a very successful restorative justice system, run by a team of Sixth Form students to support students who have broken the charter. Students also study units of work on crime and punishment as well as learning about how laws are made and passed and how they can play a part in this.
Two of the key features of our commit charter, which has been in place for the past five years are initiative and tolerance. Students are encouraged to think for themselves and make informed decisions about their lives and their futures, knowing that they have the support of staff and their peers. In addition to this, students have created an anti-bullying culture where tolerance is expected by all. This is reinforced by the school’s tolerance policy.
Respect is an integral part of the Abbey College. Visitors to the school frequently comment on the mature and respectful attitudes that students have for each other and for staff. Mutual respect is embedded throughout the curriculum, but is specifically promoted through the work of the Moral and Spiritual department where students are expected to express their own opinions on sensitive matters without infringing the rights of others. They are adept at challenging the views of their peers without undermining their intrinsic sense of humanity.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
We work hard at Abbey College to ensure that students both exhibit and promote religious tolerance. Our students largely come from secular backgrounds and do not always enter the school with a positive view of religion. We give them an insight into the world of faith through an enquiry based study of religion. They are encouraged to ask questions, make comparisons and challenge stereotypes. Students have an opportunity to share their faith and belief in their Faith and Ethics lessons as well as within the ‘Question of the Day,’ our daily act of collective worship.