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British Values

The DfE have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values 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, and these values were reiterated in 2014.  At St. Matthew's these values are reinforced regularly. This can be seen clearly during our British Values Day where we introduced the values to the children. Some photos from the day are available on our news page below.

Although in 2014-15 this is something which is developing in its significance for schools, it is not something new at St. Matthew's Primary. British values are promoted in so much of what we do, not least during our school assemblies, Religious Education and PSHE sessions. The values are integral to our long-standing  ethos statement and school values which complements British values and always has done.

As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies: we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British values, including ‘extremist’ views. 

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 most western European countries, for example.

British Values Day

Still image for this video

British Values Audit

How can this be done at St. Matthew's?


‘actively promote …’
• Focus on, and show how, the school’s work is effective in securing these values
• Challenging pupils, staff or parents who express opinions contrary to British values


Democracy – what do we do?

  • Run a democratic school council

• Provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of, and promote respect for, public institutions and services
• Teach pupils how they can influence decision-making through the democratic process

• Include in the curriculum information on the advantages and disadvantages of democracy and how it
works in Britain
• Encourage pupils to become involved in decision-making processes and ensure they are listened to in
• Organise visits to the local council and Parliament
• Hold ‘mock elections’ so pupils learn how to argue and defend points of view
• Help pupils to express their views
• Teach pupils how public services operate and how they are held to account
• Model how perceived injustice can be peacefully challenged


Rule of law – what do we do?
•Ensure school rules and expectations are clear and fair
•Help pupils to distinguish right from wrong
•Help pupils to respect the law and the basis on which it is made
•Help pupils to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals
•Include visits from the police in the curriculum
•Teach pupils aspects of both civil and criminal law and discuss how this might differ from some religious laws
•Develop restorative justice approaches to resolve conflicts


Individual liberty – what do we do?
•Support pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
•Encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour, as well as knowing their rights
•Model freedom of speech through pupil participation, while ensuring protection of vulnerable pupils and promoting critical analysis of evidence
•Challenge stereotypes
•Implement a strong anti-bullying culture


Respect and tolerance – what do we do?
•Promote respect for individual differences
•Help pupils to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, their own and other cultures and ways of life
•Challenge prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
•Organise visits to places of worship
•Develop links with faith communities
•Develop critical personal thinking skills
•Discuss differences between people, such as differences of faith, ethnicity, disability or gender  and differences of family situations, such as looked-after children or young carers