At St. Mary’s a fundamental aim of the school is to offer a curriculum that develops children and doesn’t merely impart knowledge. Our aim is to offer a curriculum with the development of children at the heart, so that they will grow into young people who will take an active and positive part in the communities in which they live. We want to develop the children so they become closer to God, but also to develop them so that they live and work in a multi-cultural society, respecting and valuing all aspects of it.
Our Catholic Mission is to live out our school motto: “Jesus is the heart of our school.” Our values are based on forgiveness, respect, tolerance, love. We recognize that we are all God’s children and that the spirit of the Gospel is reflected in our school community and we share our values within our wider community.
The government expects all schools to promote British Values. These values are:
Democracy This is word often used, but not always defined. At St Mary’s we believe that it just means that everyone who lives in a particular country or a community and even a school can get involved in the way that country is run. For children we begin by teaching them from their perspective: when they and their friends have different ideas about what game to play – how do they decide what to do? The fairest way could be to have a vote and go with what most of them want. Children are taught to respect other people’s views and to accept other people’s decisions when it’s for the good of the majority. This is developed in lessons, at playtimes and throughout school life. The most common type of democracy is called a representative democracy where people are chosen to vote on all the decisions. They are chosen by the people in an election – that’s another word for a vote! Children decide on their class representatives each year for the School Council. They make it very clear what they believe in and then it’s up to the children to vote for those they think would best represent them. The mayor visits the school so the children can hear about how people, who are elected, help them.
The rule of law It is important for children to realise that rules are there to protect the common good. In school we have golden rules in every classroom and these are discussed at the beginning of each academic year. Teachers revisit these rules with the children when appropriate. It is from these starting points that children need to learn that rules are there to help protect all and they help our communities and they protect people. Children have regular opportunities to reflect on their behaviour through school and class worship. Visits from authorities including the Police, Fire and our Parish Priest help reinforce this message.
Individual liberty Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, or of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Mutual respect Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘Respect’. Pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. All adults working in school must model this through their actions so this is promoted. The school works hard to ensure its behaviour policy is lived out by all within the school and takes positive action when any person may act in a way contrary to this. Mutual respect is something that must be lived and experienced in St Mary’s.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. This is achieved through enhancing pupils understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. The children are taught about the key world faiths and always seeks to work with the wider community in any way possible. All of these values are central to our beliefs as a Catholic school. They are at the very core of all we do. We have a moral responsibility to ensure that our children simply don’t learn about these values but they live them out and respect them. These are not values to be learnt about: they are values that need to be developed and grown within our children. It is therefore paramount that all of us show example and leadership in promoting these values. As a school community we need to live these values out and be role models to our children. The school ensures that these are promoted through our actions and also incorporates them into the curriculum, at an age appropriate level, so the children and society benefit.
British Values and our Curriculum
At St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School we have found teach tolerance and respect for the differences in our community and the wider world. Underpinning all of this is a range of curriculum topics which have strong links to the role of Britain in the world.
In KS2, classes learn about World War Two and the impact that the military had in fighting for the British Empire. This is linked with the annual Poppy Day celebrations where children purchase poppies and the 2 minute silence is held. A Remembrance Assembly is held in school each year led by a year group in order to provide an opportunity to reflect on sacrifices made for freedom.
In KS1, children consider how Mary Seacole, and Florence Nightingale helped to make the world a better place.
In English lessons across the school we study the works of English writers and poets and spend time discussing the impact of their work on British society as a whole as well as at a personal level. In History lessons we focus on important moments throughout British history and help children to understand the chronology in order for them to gain an understanding of how Britain came to be: from the early British settlers, to the British Empire and up to modern day Britain. The pupils learn about key and important figures throughout British history, for example leaders such as King Henry VIII, Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill. Children learn how the lives of these key people, their deeds and accomplishments, impacted on the development of British Society.
As a whole school, we have celebrated the Olympics themed sports days, given opportunities to learn about the history of Olympians in this country. Our Queen’s Golden Jubilee was an important event for the school as well s studying the role of the Royal family.
On a more general level, the school undertakes daily acts of collective worship which uphold traditional British Christian Values. These are also taught within formal PSHE and RE lessons and on an informal nature throughout the school.