Though it has acquired a greater urgency in recent months, the importance of schools espousing British values is not new:
- The 2008 National Curriculum includes the following statement:
The school curriculum should contribute to the development of pupils’ sense of identity through knowledge and understanding of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritages of Britain’s diverse society and of the local, national, European, Commonwealth and global dimensions of their lives
- The 2011 Teachers’ Standards state, as part of teachers’ personal and professional conduct:
Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
- These values support the national Prevent Strategy, put before Parliament in 2011 by the Home Secretary as a response to radicalisation of British citizens.
The Prevent Strategy recognises the importance of schools in counter-terrorism activities. More recently, concerns about the inappropriate actions of some schools were highlighted in the Birmingham Trojan Horse case, where a number of OFSTED inspections revealed a failure to promote British values adequately in some schools, meaning that young people in them were vulnerable to radical and extremist ideas. Consequently, all schools need a clear statement of British values and how they are promoted through the school’s curriculum.
How does High Tunstall College of Science go about promoting these values?
At HTCS we believe that our statement of vision and values, found on the school’s website, makes explicit our fundamental belief in many of these values. This statement is the foundation of all our work with our students.
British values are embodied in the following more specific ways:
- Our College’s motto is “Inspire, Support, Achieve”. All students are regularly spoken to about the importance of these three attributes for success in school.
- High Tunstall has a British Values Cross-curricular focus. In order to promote the ‘awareness of British Values’ linked to eventual action, High Tunstall has 6 British Values weeks, over the academic year. These deliberately tie in with other celebrated occasions i.e. Democracy and the HBHG elections.
- The weeks allow faculties to choose ways of promoting these ‘values’ through the curriculum in creative and imaginative ways with staff being rewarded for imagination, innovation and impact.