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As a Catholic school, our ethos is based on Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels. We promote the values of love, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, equality, justice, humility, service and peace through all that we say, what we do and how we treat each other in school and others in the wider community. Our mission statement says that we live ‘as a caring family where everyone is respected and valued’. We recognise the importance of helping children to grow academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, so they are fully prepared for life in British society and for their role as citizens.
The government set out what it considers to be British values in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011, which was aimed at identifying and combatting radicalisation and extremism. These British values are: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. All schools have a duty to actively promote these fundamental British values, which means challenging opinions or behaviours that are contrary to the values.
Our school’s Catholic values go hand in hand with the British values. Our curriculum is broad and balanced and we look to celebrate each child’s unique talents and skills at all times. We also recognise the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination and we promote the British values in the following ways:
Pupil voice has a high profile at our school. Adults listen to children’s views and value their opinions. Each class has a member on the school council. This member is elected by their peers and represents their class’s views in council meetings.
Pupils are actively involved in the creation of class rules by which they should abide.
Pupils are consulted about how best to improve their learning. For example, a group of children from Years 4 and 5 formed a working party to decide the qualities they thought children should have when they leave our school. These were then put to the teachers who, in turn, prepared activities for the next term to help children develop the two qualities the children had chosen as most important: independence and resilience.
We have two pupil members of the school e-safety committee, which meets every half term to discuss how to improve e-safety for children at our school.
Rule of Law
The importance of abiding by the rules and laws of the country is reinforced in the classroom and in assemblies. Children are involved in the creation of their own class rules and the school’s ‘golden rules’ were written by children. There is a clear behaviour policy that all children understand. Children know when rewards and sanctions are used.
Visits from members of the police or fire service or local road safety team helps reinforce why we have laws and why it is important to follow them in and out of school.
In Religious Education, children learn about God’s commandments, the most important of which is: ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)
Children are encouraged to be independent in their choices, knowing that they are in a safe and secure and supportive environment in which the adults have set clear boundaries. We celebrate each child’s unique talents and interests. Children are encouraged to be independent in their learning. Children are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities through discussions and debates in PSHE, RE and E-safety lessons.
Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Our mission statement echoes this. Our Lady’s is a place where everyone is respected and valued. All members of our school community are expected to treat one another with respect, kindness and compassion. Assembly stories are chosen to support this message and our Year 5/6 playground leaders and Max Agents model this in their support of other children at break times.
Good manners are expected at all times from everyone and children are taught how to behave in debates and to listen and respond constructively.
Children are keen to support a wide range of charities, be they local, national or global, often devising their own fundraising projects.
Our school has clear behaviour and anti-bullying policies that promote mutual respect.
RE and PSHE lessons emphasise that every person is unique and created in the image of God.
Tolerance of those of other faiths
Pupils benefit from hearing about other faiths each term. Religious Education provides pupils with a deep understanding of their own faith as well as awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities as a basis for understanding and respecting them. We teach that Jesus encouraged tolerance in stories such as the Good Samaritan.