There is a statutory duty for schools to promote British Values. These values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs underpin and are inherent in the school’s ethos, curriculum and key aims which are to ensure all members of the school community:
- Acquire the knowledge and skills for now and for a fulfilling future
- Develop confidence in themselves and their abilities
- Feel valued and value others
- Work together effectively and with enthusiasm
- Create an innovative learning environment
- Appreciate the world at large
The curriculum, extra-curricular provision and assembly programme are informed by fundamental British Values set out by the Department for Education. The examples below show some of the ways in which the School promotes these values:
The Ecclesbourne School promotes democracy through the open and fair election process for students to adopt positions of authority within school, for example, Prefects and Co-Head Boys and Girls, House Captains, Student Council Representatives. The School Council allows students to have their say on systems within school at meetings with Heads of Year and members of SLT. Student representatives sit on the Governors’ Facilities Committee and Students & Curriculum Committee. They are also involved in Youth Council, in which students are democratically elected to represent the school at Derbyshire County Council’s Youth Council meetings in Matlock.
The Sixth Form Debating Society is hugely popular with monthly debates drawing large audiences in the New Theatre and an annual House Debating Final for which the curriculum is suspended. Debating encourages students to understand the value of adversarial interrogation of ideas and issues and teaches them to understand the need for tolerance of alternative views on issues in the democratic process.
In the curriculum, the principles of British democracy are studied in weekly Personal Development & Citizenship (PDC) lessons from 11—18. The School has established links with local MPs Pauline Latham and Patrick Mclaughlin through visits to school talking to Sixth Form students and more recently Year 9, to discuss the work done by MPs and the importance of democracy. The Sixth Form curriculum includes an A Level in Government & Politics. The KS3 History curriculum teaches students about the development of British democracy including the fundamental rights enshrined in Magna Carta and the development of parliamentary sovereignty through events including the English Civil War, Glorious Revolution, First and Second Reform Acts and the extension of the suffrage.
Visit from Caroline Lucas MP
The rule of the law
The Ecclesbourne School promotes the importance of the rule of law through the exercise of its behaviour and discipline policy. The need for an orderly and purposeful environment based on rights and responsibilities is made clear to students in special assemblies, PDC lessons and the lived experience of school day to day. All students are familiar with the School’s Code of Conduct, which appears in student planners and is displayed prominently in all classrooms. All staff adhere to the same expectations of work and behaviour from students. Failure to abide by the school’s code of conduct has clearly understood consequences and students who break the rules are guided through reflection and recommitting to the school’s core values to understand the importance of balancing the needs of the individual with those of the community. Staff are very clear about their responsibilities both inside and out of school, for example, safeguarding and the use of social media.
Within the school curriculum the principles of law are studied during PDC lessons in Year 9 and Year 11. Various PDC events in school are organised to make students aware of important laws which affect them, for example, consent and on-line safety (Year 9 and Year 10), alcohol and drugs (Years 10-13), driving (Years 12-13). The school has established links with the local police force who we invite to speak to groups of students as appropriate. In Lower School students have the opportunity to take part in a Mock Trial competing with other schools and are coached in preparation for this by a working barrister.
The Ecclesbourne School promotes individual liberty by outlining and enforcing a clear anti-bullying policy in order for individuals to feel safe and secure within the school community. We provide support whereby students can make informed choices with regards to their options at GCSE and A level. They are given choices throughout the school day, regarding attendance at extra-curricular clubs and activities. As students move through the school they are granted additional responsibility and some additional freedoms. The great majority of students elect to remain at Ecclesbourne into the Sixth Form, recognising that greater independence is granted to Sixth Form students, for example, through a distinctive uniform and by allowing Sixth Form students to leave the school site at lunchtime and providing a range of different locations in which to spend their study periods. Opportunities for freedom of speech are provided through the Debating Society and the School Council where the views of the student body are listened to. The House Play Competition is a major school event each year. The whole school is entertained to plays written, directed, acted in and produced entirely by students led by their House Captains. Students are given a considerable degree of freedom, within agreed parameters, for self-expression and plays invariably have an element of healthy satirical content.
Through the school curriculum the ideas surrounding individual liberty are studied through the range of subjects and notably in English, RS, History and Creative Arts and Science. In PDC it can be found in lessons on homosexuality, human rights, politics and relationships. In Religious Studies students are encouraged to develop their views on ethics and moral issues culminating, in Year 9, in opportunities to question and debate with visitors from the community from different faiths.
Remembrance Day 2018
There is no more fundamental value in our school and when we say proudly that we are a community it is deeply meant and felt. The Code of Conduct is founded on the principle of mutual respect and states:
'The Ecclesbourne School has a number of specific expectations aimed at creating a civilised and caring atmosphere in the school and on trips out of school, but the general requirements are:
- students must avoid activities which cause distress or discomfort to others
- students must always behave in a fashion which reduces the chances of injury to themselves or to others
- students must do nothing which causes loss or damage to school property or the property of others
- student behaviour must be such as would reflect credit on themselves and the school.'
Students are encouraged to respect staff and each other and the key school aims are reinforced through the assembly programme and the routine of school life as well as in the curriculum. Mutual respect is encouraged through the key aims that students should:
- Feel valued and value others;
- Work together effectively and with enthusiasm;
- Appreciate the world at large.
This principle of mutual respect underpins the behaviour policy and reward system, assemblies and “Thought for the Day” in tutor time. The House system encourages collaboration of students across the year groups, working to achieve the same goals in music, sport, drama etc. Year 12 students apply to be trained as Peer Mentors and then work with Year 7 and 8 students, promoting mutual respect . The Subject Mentor Programme (Year 12 working with GCSE and Lower School students to help them with their work) and the Buddy Reader scheme (Upper School Students working with Year 7 and 8 students to help them improve their reading also serve to foster mutual respect. The positions of responsibility granted to students are highly coveted and students are keen to become House Captains, Student Councillors, Peer Mentors and so on. Alongside the satisfaction of rendering a service, the respect these badge holders are accorded by their peers is a key motivator.
The PDC curriculum covers mutual respect through ‘Healthy Relationships’ in every year group as part of the spiral curriculum.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
The Ecclesbourne School promotes tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs through assemblies and “Thought for the Day” in tutor time and it is fundamental to the school’s approach to equality of opportunity. Behaviour which offends against this value is dealt with sensitively but firmly by pastoral leaders so that students are made aware of the importance of tolerance in our diverse society.
Within the school curriculum tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs is taught across the age range through the Religious Studies curriculum. Students are taught in Year 7 about the signs and symbols associated with major world faiths and are helped to understand the importance of ritual observance including in terms of different codes of dress and cultural values. An extensive programme of visits and visiting speakers ensures students have the opportunity to appreciate different perspectives. This programme includes visits to Leicester Hindu temple (all year 9), the Holocaust Memorial Centre (all Year 9), and Birmingham mosque (Year 10). In Year 9 students have the opportunity to debate ethical issues with representatives of two traditions within the Christian communion. In the PDC curriculum Year 9 students study issues surrounding homophobia.