Catholic Values, British Values
The promotion of ‘British values’ is central to Catholic education because British values have their origin in the Christian values of our nation.
At The Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School, we recognise not only the importance of helping pupils to flourish academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally. Our aim is that our pupils and students are fully prepared for life in British society, to take their role as good citizens, and able to make the best possible contribution to the Common Good. Within a framework of Catholic Christian Values, we teach the importance of British Values by going much deeper into the meaning of what it is to live a good life. This provides the context and meaning for understanding why British values are important and ensures these values are reinforced in a pervasive manner which permeates the school community.
Our framework for understanding British values draws on the example of Jesus and his welcome and inclusion of all, which is developed in Catholic Social Teaching. At The Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School we provide an education which focuses on the formation of the whole person and on our vocation and purpose in life. We place a significant emphasis on the celebration of individuality and difference within our communities and our calling to work for the Common Good, in the service of others.
Our Catholic Ethos makes a tangible difference to the way we work together and with our wider communities. Within this framework it would be impossible to overlook the government’s view of British values expressed as ‘democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.’
The examples that follow are an indication of some of the many ways we seek to embed British values at Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School and should be seen as an indication of our approach rather than an exhaustive list.
At The Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School, we promote the importance of democracy through such things as:
- Ensuring all pupils are listened to by adults
- Ensuring that students are encouraged to use their voice across the curriculum through collaborative working, responding to teacher feedback in books, careful questioning by staff, through the work they produce and through classroom dialogue
- Ensuring all students are given the opportunity to access the curriculum
- School Parliament and Student Leadership
- Involving pupils in decision making
- Taking part in debates
- Highlighting the development of democratic ideas in History lessons
- Holding mock elections
- Participating in the Stevenage Youth Council
- Visits to the Houses of Parliament
The Rule of Law
In school we promote the importance of the rule of law through such things as:
- Having a clear behaviour policy that is explained to all
- Living out the teachings of the Catholic Church and exploring moral codes in Religious Education
- Organising visits from outside speakers, including the Police service, to reinforce the message of right and wrong and the consequences which arise when laws are broken
- Liaising closely with outside agencies, including Social Services
- Promoting the correct use of the internet through The Acceptable Use Policy
Within The Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School, students are actively encouraged to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. As a school, we educate and provide boundaries for students to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and receive advice about how to exercise these safely.
In school we promote the importance of individual liberty through such things as:
- Living in community believing every person is unique and “created in the image and likeness of God”
- Having a mission statement that is inclusive
- Nurturing an ethos and culture based on mutual respect
- Providing pupils with opportunities for reflection as they take responsibility in discerning their vocation
- Empowering our young people to work for the good of others and for to raise awareness for change
- Encouraging pupils to be independent in their learning
- Reinforcing the value of everyone’s opinions in class debates
- Having an effective anti-bullying policy
- Having educational links with other schools
- Marking significant events which promote individual liberty, including Remembrance Day
Respect is at the core of our school ethos and is modelled by students and staff alike. The school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classrooms and learning environment, where pupils and students recognise that their behaviour has an impact on others. All members of our community are treated with respect. In line with our commitment to democracy, pupils and students at The Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School are always able to voice their opinions and we foster an environment where differing views are respected.
In school we promote the importance of mutual respect through such things as:
- Behaviour policy and Code of Conduct
- School Equality and Equal Opportunities policies
- Clear guidance on behaviour and on social media
- The publishing and enforcement of a smart dress code for students and staff
- The curriculum which helps pupils and students to learn about a wide range of people, cultures and beliefs and so develops students' ability to make informed decisions, form and be confident in their own identity and understand and respect those of others
- Pupils and students are introduced to a range of beliefs and experiences so that they are able to make more informed choices for themselves, both academically and socially
- Pupils and students are taught the knowledge and skills to broaden the choices they are empowered to make about future work, travel and education
- The profusion of extra-curricular activities and clubs, including extended studies
- The mentoring schemes within departments, year groups and across school
- The commitment to ‘fair-play’ in Physical Education
Acceptance of those with different faiths and beliefs
This is achieved through equipping students with the ability to understand their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity within the school community. The curriculum helps students to learn about a wide range of people, cultures and beliefs and so develops students’ ability to make informed decisions, form and be confident in their own identity and understand and respect that of others.
We also run a number of trips abroad throughout the academic year from which our students gain valuable experience of other cultures and languages. Additionally, students are actively encouraged to share their own faith and beliefs within the school through participation in liturgical events and celebrations.
In school we promote acceptance of those with different faiths and beliefs through such things as:
- Religious Education provides pupils with a deep understanding of their own faith as well as awareness of the faith and traditions of other religious communities as a basis for understanding and respecting them
- Showing how Jesus promoted acceptance in stories such as The Good Samaritan
- Marking Holocaust Memorial Day
- Focusing on rights and responsibilities
- Having a freely accessible chapel which is open for all faiths to use
- Celebrating inter-faith week