British Values and SMSC

British Values


The DfE has recently reinforced the need to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the ‘fundamental British value of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy document, and these values were reiterated in November 2014.  At Balsall Common Primary School Academy, these values are reinforced regularly through assemblies, PSHE and as many aspects of the curriculum as possible.

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 promote actively fundamental British values.

The Government defines these as:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs

The aim is to promote fundamental British values which are designed to prepare children for life in modern Britain.  Through assemblies and lessons we intend to help children understand the importance of combatting discrimination and explain the importance of the democratic processes like voting and petitioning.  We also help children to realise that under British law, we all have the freedom to choose our own faiths and beliefs and that the law is there to keep us safe.

At Balsall Common we aim to enable all pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence and to be able to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the law of England.  It is important that children are given the right skills to allow them to accept responsibility for their behaviour, to show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and ultimately to contribute positively to life in modern Britain.

Through carefully planned lessons and special weeks of awareness, we aim to enable our pupils to acquire an appreciation for and respect of their own and other cultures, which in turn will promote tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions.

Promoting fundamental British values will reinforce, not change, the current ethos of Balsall Common Primary School.  British Values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:

Democracy: Children have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our active School Council and through regular pupil questionnaires. The elections of school council members for each class are based solely on pupil choice. At the start of the school year all classes decide on a set of class rules and code of conduct.  Other opportunities include visits to The Houses of Parliament and visits from local MPs.

The Rule of Law: Throughout school, the importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced through the school day. These may, for example, be as part of an assembly theme or when dealing with behaviour in school. Our children are taught the value and reasons behind laws that govern and protect us, the responsibility that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.  Visit from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.

Individual Liberty: When in school, our pupils are encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school, we educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make safe choices through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education.  We encourage our children to know, understand and exercise their rights as children, through PSHE and e-safety lessons and when they enter adulthood.

Mutual Respect: Our school ethos and Behaviour Policy revolves around core values such as ‘respect’ and children have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown; all members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect.  Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own right and the rights of others.

Tolerance of those of Different Faiths & Beliefs: This is achieved through enhancing our children’s understanding of their place in a culturally diverse country and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity through assemblies and visits to places of worship; our PSHE and RE teaching reinforces this. Pupils and their families of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.


The Prevent Strategy

What is the prevent strategy?

Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes.  The Prevent strategy covers all types of terrorism and extremism, including the extreme right wing, violent Islamist groups and other causes.

How does the Prevent strategy apply to schools?

From July 2015 all school have a duty to safeguard children from radicalisation and extremism.  This means we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views the same way we protect them from drugs or gang violence.

Importantly, we can provide a safe place for pupils to discuss these issues so they better understand how to protect themselves.

How do we protect your children?

At Balsall Common we protect children from the risk of radicalisation, for example by using filters on the internet to make sure they can’t access extremist and terrorist material, or by vetting visitors who come into school to work with pupils.  We explore other cultures and religions in order to promote diversity and also challenge prejudice and racist comments.  We believe in developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identify that encourages our pupils to engage in our promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural teaching.