Birchensale Middle School is committed to serving its community. It recognises the multi-cultural, multi faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. It also understands the vital role it has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.
It follows equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. Birchensale is dedicated to preparing students for their adult life beyond the formal examined curriculum and ensuring that it promotes and reinforces British values to all its students.
The Government emphasises that schools are required to ensure that key ‘British Values’ are taught in all UK schools. The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy.
The five British Values are:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Mutual respect
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
The school uses strategies within the National curriculum and beyond to secure such outcomes for students. The examples that follow show some of the many ways Birchensale seeks to embed British values.
Democracy: The principle of democracy is consistently being reinforced at Birchensale, with democracy processes being used for important decisions within the school community, for instance, elections being held for the school council. The principle of democracy is also explored in the History and Religious Studies curriculum as well as in form time and assemblies.
The rule of law: The importances of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced at Birchensale. Regular visits from the Community Police also reinforce the laws.
Students are taught the rules and expectations of the school which are highlighted by the student code of conduct and student expectations. Students are taught the value and the reasons behind laws that govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.
Individual liberty: At Birchensale, students are actively encouraged to make independent choices, with the knowledge that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. Staff at Birchensale educate and provide boundaries for students to make informed choices, through a safe environment and an empowering education.
Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised on how to exercise these safely, for example through e-safety and Form Time work.
Birchensale has a robust anti-bullying culture and has in place a comprehensive Behaviour for Learning Policy.
Mutual Respect: Respect is a strong part of Birchensale. Students learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community treat each other with respect and this is reiterated through its teaching and learning environments.
Mutual respect is embraced throughout the curriculum by providing the opportunity for students to express their views in a safe environment. Birchensale’s’ ethos teaches pupils to respect the rights of others and to recognise individual’s needs, backgrounds, interests and cultures whilst encouraging them to develop personally by taking on responsibility and becoming more socially aware.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs: Respect of different faiths and beliefs is achieved though equipping students with the ability to understand their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving the opportunities to experience such diversity within the school community. Students benefit from a number of visitors, including students from other continents and cultures. Additionally, students are actively encouraged to share their faith and beliefs within the school and celebrate festivities throughout the calendar year. The Religious Studies curriculum, which is compulsory for all students up to the end of KS3, provides a broad and balanced education on a range of faiths, religions and cultures.
Birchensale also work in partnerships with schools overseas to teach students about life in other countries and develop them as global citizens. We are ‘twinned’ with Mtwara Primary School in Tanzania. Pupils write to each other and we donate resources to improve their learning environment.
Birchensale strives endlessly to ensure that its students leave with the strongest foundation of values upon which to build a successful life and a successful contribution to our Society.