Her Majesty’s Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. These were reinforced in September 2014 in response to recent national and international events. These new regulations sit alongside the requirements of the Equalities Act, which also applies to all types of school. As a Catholic community we focus our efforts on the formation of the whole person, in seeking ‘excellence in all and for all’, we not only work to ensure that our pupils flourish academically but we also ‘strive to create community’ and to embrace our wider role in preparing them for their adult life beyond the formal examined curriculum. Central to this role in that preparation is ensuring that we promote and reinforce British values to our pupils so that they are prepared to take their place in the world of the 21st century.
As a Catholic school which seeks to live out the values of Jesus Christ, we promote these values by our words and deeds, and Catholic teaching and practice therefore permeates every aspect of the school’s activity. We provide a catholic curriculum, which is broad and balanced, recognising that every pupil is unique and is created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). Our curriculum is designed to enable every pupil to discern their vocation and to be well-equipped to follow it as active citizens in service to the world. Catholic Religious Education is the “core of the core curriculum” (Pope St John Paul II) and the foundation of the entire educational process. We also provide a wide range of co-curricular activities and strong pastoral support. We incorporate democratic principles, value the rule of law, support individual liberty and foster a community in which different faiths and beliefs are respected.
The examples that follow are an indication of some of the many ways we seek to embed British values at St Leonard’s Catholic School and should be seen as an indication of our approach rather than an exhaustive list.
At St Leonard’s Catholic School the principle of democracy is consistently reinforced, with the democratic process being employed for important decisions within the school community and beyond, for instance the nomination and election of pupils to the School Council, the Prefect System, House Captains, Sports Captains, and the position of Head Girl / Head Boy. The principle of democracy is explored in History and Religious Education, Government and Politics as well as in Tutor Time and Assemblies.
In 2015 in shadowing the General Election a significant amount of time was given to providing detailed information about the national picture and an election was held in school. The Head of History, ably assisted by her Government and Politics A Level students, coordinated this work.
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught the values and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service are regular parts of our Pastoral Programme and help reinforce this message.
At St Leonard’s Catholic School pupils are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and receive advice about how to exercise these safely, for example through our exploration of E-Safety in computing and their Tutor Time activities and our annual E-Safety Week as well as exploring uses of ‘consent’ in Relationships and Sex Education. We also seek to engage and inform parents through information evenings.
As a community that seeks to ‘take Christ as the model for life’, respect lies at the very heart of our school ethos. In seeking always to ‘treat others as we wish to be treated’ (cf. Matthew 7:12) the school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments as well as co-curricular activities such as sport.
In line with our commitment to democracy, pupils at St Leonard’s Catholic School are always able to voice their opinions and we foster an environment where pupils are safe to disagree with each other. The development of our approach to ‘Behaviour for Learning’ across the school develops mutual respect throughout the curriculum and our high behaviourial standards promote the values of respect and responsibility. The School Council also provides the pupils with an arena where they can bring up and discuss any issues that may undermine the school ethos.
In seeking to ‘take Christ as the model for life’ and in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church, we work hard to provide our pupils with a deep understanding of their own faith as well as an awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities, as a basis for understanding and respecting them. The Catholic Church teaches that our approach to those of other faiths and none should be “guided by faith, animated by charity and oriented toward the common good through mutual respect, knowledge and trust” (Pope Benedict XVI).
At St Leonard’s Catholic School this is achieved through equipping pupils with the ability to understand their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity within the school community. All pupils experience a structured approach to PSHE through our Pastoral Programmes and across the curriculum as appropriate.
Should you feel that the school is not meeting this requirement, you should contact the school and request to express your concerns with the Head Teacher.
If you feel that anyone working at the school is undermining these values you should report this to the Head Teacher.
All schools are subject to a duty under Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.
In accordance with current legislation the Governors have put in place the following across the school:
If you are worried that you or one of your friends is at risk of being radicalised (radicalisation means people having increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals), you need to speak to your teachers immediately. This could be other pupils having conversations with groups or individuals connected to extremism or looking at extremist materials on the internet. It could also be students having conversations around school that make you feel worried that they could be being drawn into dangerous situations or that their ideas are shifting away from what is normal.
If a member of staff in a school has a concern about a particular pupil they should follow the school’s normal safeguarding procedures, including discussing with the school’s designated safeguarding lead. You can also contact your local police force or dial 101 (the non-emergency number). They can talk to you in confidence about your concerns and help you gain access to support and advice.
The Department for Education has dedicated a telephone helpline (020 7340 7264) to enable staff and Governors to raise concerns relating to extremism directly.
Concerns can also be raised by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the helpline is not intended for use in emergency situations, such as a child being at immediate risk of harm or a security incident, in which case the normal emergency procedures should be followed.