Publications state that the DFE/Ofsted expect to see a drive within schools “to create and enforce and clearly and rigorously promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
At West Lakes Academy these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Throughout their time at the academy, students are given opportunities to discuss and share their views on a range of issues. This may be, for example, as part of a debate in an English lesson, when talking about issues during a personal development lesson, or when discussing topics in tutor time or in assembly, or when students further their knowledge and understanding about democracy in history lessons.
Students can express their opinions about the academy via our student voice scheme, and subject leaders are encouraged to gather feedback from students as part of their monitoring of the curriculum. Students also have opportunities to vote when electing tutor and year councillors and the prefect system promotes students actively leading and managing improvements and change democratically. Many students serve as either a member of the academy council or as a prefect, and learn valuable lessons about the workings of democracy.
Rule of law
There are many opportunities to inform and teach students about the importance of rules and laws, for example in learning to play team games in PE lessons. Many classes draw up their own class rules at the start of each academic year as a contract, and the academy as a whole has created a set of expectations which form the basis of our behaviour policy. These are regularly reinforced in the classroom and during assemblies, and are invoked if students misbehave.
We have a close relationship with local police support officers, who visit the academy and support with the delivery of key topics and work to ensure they are informing and educating our students of the rule of law. Students are also involved in local magistrate’s projects and as part of this, magistrates have visited the academy to explain how and why laws are made and enforced.
As an academy we place great emphasis on allowing students to develop and express their individuality, and wherever possible students are given many opportunities to make choices and follow their own interests and preferences, for example they make their own curriculum choices in Year 8. We also inform students about the concept of human rights in PD and RE lessons, and advise them of the importance of liberty, and the devastating effects of loss of liberty.
Mutual respect is at the heart of the academy’s values. Students and staff are expected to respect each other, and to base their behaviour on empathy towards others. We are aware that everyone is different but everyone is equally important and this is promoted through assemblies, tutor sessions and lessons. We help students to develop their awareness of people’s differences and similarities, and to value the rich diversity of the human race. As part of this, we are part of the Tanzanian Link and are regularly working with a range of outside agencies.
Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
Although most of the students at the academy are from a Christian or no faith background, we ensure that our RE curriculum includes many opportunities to learn about and to understand and respect other faiths and beliefs.
At the academy we place a huge emphasis on ‘accepting’, ‘respecting’ and ‘tolerating’