The Department for Education asks all schools to promote British values, which are defined as:

  • democracy
  • the rule of law
  • individual liberty and mutual respect
  • tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.

The Citizenship modules which form part of our PSHE curriculum cover all the key concepts related to the areas listed above (see here) and these are also further highlighted through mentor time assemblies and discussions, and in subject teaching. These values are then also further demonstrated through the following:

Democracy

Pupil voice is important at Sawston Village College, and there are many channels through which pupils can ensure their voices are heard. All pupils are encouraged to get involved in the various forums – Amnesty, Arts, Eco/Animal, Ethos, International, Sports, and Wellbeing. These forums are dedicated to improving the school and wider community, locally and nationally, and they are run by senior pupils who, together, form the Pupil Senate and report back to the College’s Senior Leadership Team on changes they would like to see in school and also on wider initiatives. The Pupil Senate is only one of many leadership opportunities open to pupils at both key stage 3 and 4. At key stage 3, for example, we also have House Mates, who are Year 8 pupils supporting the Year 6-7 transition process.  For more information on our leadership opportunities, see here. Pupils are also involved in staff appointments and are regularly consulted when change in school is being considered.

We also have a very well-attended Debating Club which meets weekly to discuss a range of topics, and where everyone is encouraged to participate and share their viewpoint. In addition to this, we have a number of other clubs where pupils can lead and determine focus.

The rule of law

Through insistence on our pupils both respecting and valuing our rules and code of conduct, pupils learn about the importance of rules for the school community and, from this, the significance of the laws that govern and protect us in our country and the consequences of breaking these. Visits to the College from authorities, such as the Police and Fire Service, further help us to reinforce this message.

Individual liberty and mutual respect

We are an inclusive school and support our pupils to know, understand and exercise their rights and freedoms in a responsible way, making informed choices and developing self-knowledge and confidence.

Respect is one of our CARE values and so is actively and regularly promoted through assemblies and in the displays around school. We expect pupils to conduct themselves with kindness, generosity of spirit, politeness, humility, and compassion. ‘Respect’ is also part of our Sawston Pledge programme, which challenges pupils to complete tasks related to our core values. We further have a Pride Club and a BAME Group, both run by older pupils, and we take part in Anti-bullying week and other events focused on our consideration of others. For more information on our CARE values, see here.

Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

We are a diverse school community representing rich cultural traditions and heritage, and we believe it is important for our pupils to value different experiences and perspectives. We mark Holocaust Memorial Day each year, usually with a lecture from former pupil Professor Tom Lawson, historian of the Holocaust and Deputy Vice Chancellor at Northumbria University. We engage with the Holocaust Memorial Trust and were commissioned by them to make an art work remembering the Rwandan genocide, for which our pupils worked with a professional artist to make a three-panel contemplative piece.

We want our pupils to appreciate cultural diversity and to understand the importance of their contribution as citizens in creating a cohesive and tolerant society.

Professor Lawson visited the school for Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2020 and gave lectures to pupils as well as then meeting with a smaller group for more in depth discussion.

 

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