Fundamental British Values explained
What are ‘fundamental British values’?
Schools are required to provide for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of their pupils. As part of this requirement, we are expected to actively promote fundamental British values.
The government defines these as:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
What does this mean for my child?
Our efforts to promote fundamental British values are designed to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.
Ultimately, we aim to help pupils understand:
- The importance of combatting discrimination
- How we can influence decision-making by taking part in democratic processes like voting
- Our freedom under British law to choose different faiths and beliefs
- That the law is there to keep us safe
What does this look like in school?
The values are reflected throughout our school, including in our ethos, policies and assemblies.
Children also engage with the values through the curriculum, in ways that are suitable for their age and understanding. For example, in some subjects there are opportunities to think about traditions from different cultures and religions. In the early years it may involve something as simple as sharing and taking turns; listening to one another and learning to be a good friend.
Curriculum activities such as games and sporting events teach pupils about the importance of rules. Pupil votes (e.g. for their School Council representatives), questionnaires and class discussions are other ways that pupils can have their voices heard and learn about democracy.
Our duty to actively promote fundamental British values means that we always present political views to pupils in a balanced way. We are also responsible for challenging prejudiced or extreme opinions and behaviour.
As part of this responsibility, we have put measures in place to protect pupils from exposure to extremist views. Please feel free to contact the school if you would like more information about this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my child still be able to express his/her faith at school?
Absolutely. One of the fundamental values is respect and tolerance of people with different faiths, and we teach our pupils that British law protects their freedom to hold their own beliefs.
Any prejudice or discrimination towards pupils on the basis of their faith goes against the fundamental British values and will not be tolerated by the school.
How will this affect my child’s lessons?
The curriculum provides lots of opportunities to look at fundamental British values. Your child will already have some experience of this in lessons such as religious education (RE) and personal, social and health education (PSHE).
In each subject, our teachers will look out for these opportunities and encourage pupils to think about how the values link into the topics they are studying.
Will there be major changes to the school’s ethos?
Our school’s ethos already includes many aspects of the government’s fundamental British values. For example, we expect our pupils to follow the school rules; show kindness to one another and respect for one another.
Promoting fundamental British values will reinforce, not change, our current ethos.
Where to go for more information?
Contact the school
If you have any questions or concerns about British values and what it means for your child, please do not hesitate to contact the school. The school is following the same guidance as every other school in England.
The following guidance and news article from the Department for Education (DfE) may be useful for further information:
Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools, DfE https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/380595/SMSC_Guid ance_Maintained_Schools.pdf
Guidance on promoting British values in schools published https://www.gov.uk/government/news/guidance-on-promoting-british-values-in-schools-published