Our vision commits us to focusing on each child as a member of God’s family.
To do that, our school has to concentrate on first understanding and then developing each individual child's unique nature and potential. This must include his or her personality and attitudes, likes and dislikes, academic potential, speed of development, individual needs, and particular gifts or talents.
As a Catholic school, with the help of our families, our parish and our local community, we will do our best to use the gifts that God has given us to make our world a richer place.
The Department for Education has introduced a statutory duty for schools to promote British Values more actively from September 2014, and to ensure they are taught in schools. St Joseph’s Catholic Primary 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. The school 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. St Joseph’s 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 set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. The five key 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 ethos of our school, as summarised by our Mission Statement, is derived from Christian values which are at the heart of what we teach in school and encompass the five key values identified above.
The following examples illustrate some of the many ways St Joseph’s seeks to instil British Values.
Pupils have the opportunity to have their voices heard through 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 and pupils vote in secret. Made up of two representatives from each class, the School Council meets regularly to discuss issues raised by the different classes. The council is genuinely able to effect change within the school; it is currently involved in planning changes for the playground, and in the creation of an outside reflective area. Other examples of ‘pupil voice’ include using pupil feedback forms, and in the nomination of various charities to be supported by the school. 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 also encourage pupils to take ownership of their own learning and progress.
Rule of Law
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, each class discusses its set of class rules, to ensure all can learn in a safe and ordered environment. This value is reinforced in different ways, including visits to and from authorities such as the police and fire service, and during Religious Education when rules for particular faiths are thought about. The values are also considered during other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules, such as in sports lessons. Catholic law is taught through gospel values.
Pupils follow a positive behaviour policy and clearly understand the expectations, rewards and consequences that are used. Assemblies and discussions in class are rooted in our Catholic faith and beliefs, and focus on recognising right from wrong. The “Home School Agreement” is a bond between pupils and teachers, parents and governors – and reflects the changing needs of the school.
Pupils are encouraged to be independent learners and to make choices within a safe and supportive environment. Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, through the provision of a safe environment and planned curriculum, and to understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms safely, for example through our e-Safety teaching.
A focus upon making the right choices is explicit through our assemblies and as a Catholic school our ethos emphasises that we are all precious in the eyes of God. Celebration assembly celebrates each child’s achievements and parents may be invited to attend.
Our year 6 pupil are given additional responsibilities in school and are special friends to our reception children. They organise liturgies and Act of Worship and are encouraged to be good role models for younger children. Pupils are encouraged to understand their personal freedom and are taught how to use these rights to best effect. All pupils are keen to support charities, whether local, national or global, and frequently initiate fund raising activities. Consideration and care for others is key to our Catholic faith, is evident in the ethos of our school, and is explicitly taught through our Religious Education curriculum and PSHE lessons.
As part of their PSHE in Year 6, children visit ‘Crucial Crew’ where they are taught how to make the good choices surrounding use of the internet, railways, drugs and alcohol.
Our school’s ethos and behaviour policy are based on Gospel Values, as we aim to be like Jesus and ‘live, love and learn with the Lord’. Collective worship promotes respect for others and the importance of good manners. Supported by prayer and meditation, all pupils are taught the importance of self-respect, honest and open communication with others, and fairness and justice. Pupils work collaboratively and value the opinions of others.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
The Catholic life of the school sets high expectations for respect and tolerance of all faiths. As a Catholic worshipping community children are taught that we are all created in the image and likeness of God and are reminded of their place in a culturally diverse society. This is achieved through our Religious Education curriculum and the spiritual life of the school. Respect and tolerance for members of our wider community is often achieved through fundraising for Catholic Care and CAFOD. This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity in our local community, for example by inviting visitors to teach us about the Hindu festival of Diwali and making links with a more culturally diverse school. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. The children learn about our partner school, recognising the similarities and differences between our daily lives. Our whole school themes include celebrations such as the Chinese New Year and we enjoy learning about the differences in countries and cultures around the world.