The Department for Education states that “schools should 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.” This is to ensure that schools meet the Government’s Prevent Duty 2011.
The following illustrates how we embed those values within our school vision ‘Aiming High, Achieving Together’ and our MERTON values of Motivation, Excellence, Respect, Teamwork, Opportunities and Never Give Up.
We value democracy and believe that all members of our school community have a voice and contribute to the success of the school.
All adults listen to our pupils and each pupil listens carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages an increased sense of both personal and social responsibility and helps create a family ethos.
At the beginning of every year, we hold School Council elections. Children have the opportunity to put forward an application and all children are encouraged to vote for whom they feel would represent their voice. This reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action. Each year a class charter enables each class to take account of all pupils’ ideas and suggestions. Underpinning all of our Personal Development Learning (PDL) sessions are our school MERTON values. Our annual Pupil Questionnaire and regular pupil interviews enables us to tailor the curriculum taught to the pupils' needs and interests. Our School Council undertakes termly learning walks to ascertain how well we are achieving our RRE ethos and promoting our values. They feedback and identify next steps during assemblies. Governors also have the opportunity to meet with pupils to discuss their learning.
Our annual Parent Questionnaire allows parents the opportunity to express their ideas and opinions. These in turn directly affect any future strategic decisions made and contributes to the School Improvement Plan.
The Rule of Law
At Merton we have a duty to protect children from harm. We have a crucial part to play in providing a positive role model for all children and to build positive links with our local community. Significant to this role is the specific focus needed to support our most vulnerable pupils and those at risk of isolation within our community.
The ‘rule of law’ is fundamental to our behaviour management, and as a school we have high expectations of all members of our school community. The rule of law is built on firm foundations where;
Rules are created to provide a safe environment
Rules are clearly defined
Rules are applied equally to all
Rules ensure fairness for all
We all have a responsibility to adhere to these rules and accept that there are consequences if they are broken
Pupils contribute towards the rules which maintain a safe, happy and fair school
Our school has clear rules and a code of conduct which are deeply embedded in our work every day. These are reinforced through carefully weekly planned assemblies, Personal Development Learning (PDL) lessons and Circle Times. Each class discusses and sets its own class charter as part of our commitment to the RRE agenda, including lunchtime, playtime and library charters.
Pupil voice is the key to individual liberty. Our learning values underpin our choices and through our Personal Development Learning (PDL) curriculum, Circle Times, assemblies and topic outcomes our pupils are encouraged to exercise their choices effectively and to have their voice heard.
Pupils are given freedom and active encouragement to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. There are many opportunities to make good choices, including choosing a balanced dinner at lunchtime, taking part in numerous extra-curricular clubs, taking on classroom and whole school responsibilities and choosing how to behave.
Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms. Pupils also participate in groups, such as School Council, which help to develop them as citizens and further recognise how they can make a difference within the wider world.
Respect is at the forefront of our Merton values. Respect is embedded through our RRE and Personal Development Learning (PDL) curriculum. The pupils know and understand that it is highly expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone; children, staff, visitors and parents.
We value one another as unique and special individuals. We consistently use good manners, saying ‘please,’ ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’; we always allow others to go first. At Merton, we do not use put downs, sarcasm or make fun of other people’s mistakes. We continue to embrace individuality.
We promote mutual respect by being a close community where we celebrate each other’s successes, acknowledging and supporting the achievements of others during our weekly Celebration Assemblies. We encourage our pupils to ‘look out’ for their peers, filling them with conscientiousness; creating helpful and generous characters.
Tolerance of Those with Different Faiths and Beliefs:
Our core value of Respect ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs. We enhance pupils’ understanding of different faiths and beliefs through religious education topics, our Personal Development Learning (PDL) and RRE curriculum, our Young Interpreter’s and enjoying a depth of study during themed weeks. Beliefs, traditions and customs are explored, with visitors being invited into school to enrich and extend understanding. Through this our pupils gain an enhanced appreciation of their place in a culturally diverse community which is rapidly changing.
We ensure pupils understand that the freedom to choose to follow different faiths and beliefs is a fundamental human right. Having another faith should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory treatment.
We also celebrate our heritage and accomplishments, recognising how Great Britain has affected the world for example Election days, Saints days, WW1 remembrance week.