British Values at St Agnes

“Being a British citizen means to me we have the right to freedom and we live in a democratic nation.” Child, Year 6

British values are integral to our long-standing ethos and values which complements British values and always has done. They are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and Encounter with God sessions.

The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world – they differ in no way from the values of other countries.

At St Agnes’, we promote fundamental British values through our ethos, the curriculum, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and through our work as a UNICEF Rights Respecting School and a Peace Mala school. We reinforce and promote British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs as demonstrated below:

Being part of Britain

“Being British means that you have rights that other countries don’t have.” Child, Year 5

As a school, we value and celebrate the diverse heritages of everybody at St Agnes. Alongside this, we value and celebrate being part of Britain. In general terms, this means that we celebrate traditions, such as customs through the course of the year, for example, Remembrance during the Autumn term, and the occasional trip to a pantomime around Christmas time (what could be more British than that!). We also value and celebrate national events.

Further, children learn about being part of Britain from different specific perspectives. One specific example of when we teach about being part of Britain is:

Historically: St Agnes does the Decades is a whole-school thematic day which happens every year. The main focus is British history. During the day, children learn about an aspect of life and how this has developed and changed to the present day. Each year group is assigned a decade to explore and then we all come together I the afternoon to share our learning with the whole school.


Article 12 Every child has the right to be heard

Article 2  Every child has the right to be treated equally and with respect

Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at St Agnes Primary. Democracy is central to how we operate.

An obvious example is our School Council. The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action: candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, pupils vote in secret using ballot boxes etc. Made up of a representative from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes.

Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ are:

  • children agree their Class Charter and the rights associated with these; all children contribute to the drawing up of the charter
  • using Pupil Feedback forms, children are asked to respond and reflect on the teaching and learning

Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.

Rules and Laws

Article 19 Every child has the right to be protected from harm

Article 1 Every child has the right to be treated equally and with respect

Article 29 Every child has the right to an education

The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, a class might discuss and set its own Class Charter, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.

Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves, and the consequences when laws are broken. These values are reinforced in different ways:

  • visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
  • during Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
  • during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules – in a sports lesson, for example

Individual Liberty

Article 19 Every child has the right to be protected from harm

Article 12 Every child has the right to be heard

Article 2  Every child has the right to be treated equally and with respect

Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment and empowering education, we provide boundaries for our young pupils to make choices safely; for example:

  • choices about what learning challenge or activity
  • choices about how they record their learning
  • choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities

Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are taught how to exercise these safely, such as in our e-safety and Living and Learning lessons.

Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

Article 2  Every child has the right to be treated equally and with respect

Article 14 Every child has the right to practice their own religion

Article 29 Every child has the right to an education

Article 30 Every child has the right to practice their own culture

St Agnes Primary is in an area which is greatly culturally diverse and we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Mutual respect is at the heart of our ethos and values – As a Manchester Church of England school – celebrating diversity of faiths, cultures and lifestyles.

Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, whether it is a school resource, a religious belief or whatever. This is reflected in our Behaviour Policy. Children learn that their behaviour choices have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community should treat each other with respect.

Specific examples of how we at St Agnes Primary enhance pupils understanding and respect for different faiths and beliefs are:

  • through Religious Education, Encounter with God and other lessons where we might develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures – in English through fiction and in Art by considering culture from other parts of the world, for example
  • enjoying a depth of study during community themed weeks, where sometimes we will celebrate and enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the word (whilst at other times we might consider groups or individuals who might be vulnerable in some way, such as those with mental health issues)

Opposing Extremism

Something which is clearly not part of any British or European value is extremism. It is important to remember that whilst the threat from so-called Islamic State has been a focus in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act, the Prevent Duty is clear that extremism of all kinds should be tackled too. In England, far right groups such as Britain First and the English Defence League need to be tackled, too. Extremism is not a new topic in education, but schools have a relatively new statutory duty to pay “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

At St Agnes we will actively challenge pupils, staff, parents or anyone in the school community expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views. We follow our locally agreed process in making the relevant referrals when concerns are raised supported by the designated safeguarding lead.

Read the government’s Prevent duty guidance and its guidance for schools.