British Values and Catholic Values
At St. Thomas Aquinas we recognise, not only the importance of helping our pupils to flourish academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, so they are fully prepared for life in British society and for their role as citizens, able to make the strongest possible contribution to the Common Good of all.
We teach the importance of British Values by going much deeper into the meaning of what it means to live a good life, within a framework of Catholic Christian Values. This provides the context and meaning for understanding why British values are important. 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 St. Thomas Aquinas 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, which includes Christian and British values, makes a difference to the way we work together and with our wider communities. Within this framework it would be impossible to overlook the governments view of British values expressed as ‘democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.’
Democracy is embedded at 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. Pupils also have the opportunity to air their opinions and ideas through our School Council and pupil questionnaires. The elections of the School Council members are based solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action, making politics relevant to young people, so they can become active citizens within their communities.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced at school.
Pupils are taught from an early age the rules of the school. These are our School Rules, Playground Rules and Safety Rules. Each class also discusses and sets its own rules that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind rules and laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message.
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 informed choices, through a safe environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons.
Respect is one of the core values of our school. Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone, whatever differences we may have, and to everything, however big or small. The core value of respect underpins our work every day, both in and out of the classroom.
Respect for and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs
Our core value of respect ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs. St Thomas Aquinas enhances pupils understanding of different faiths and beliefs through RE lessons, assemblies, PSHE lessons and events, such as Vocations Week, World Religion Week, etc.
All classes access 'Picture News' weekly, which provides a current news story, an image, a thought provoking 'Weekly Big Question' and a variety of resources linked to British Values. The Picture News resources provide opportunities for children to learn from our world and develop respect for others beliefs, feelings and faiths. They encourage exploration, discussion, debate, challenge and inspire children to learn!
At St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School we are dedicated to promoting values which ensure our pupils develop a strong sense of social and moral responsibility, which will prepare them for life in modern Britain.
British Values in our Curriculum
Art & Design
Fundamental British Values are evident in Art and children understand how Art can celebrate difference. Children learn respect for other cultures as they study a variety of topics such as Indian and African art. They learn that there are a variety of cultures represented in British art because of Britain’s multiculturalism. As art is such a personal subject, children will be able to use their individual liberty to explore their own styles and preferences
The computing curriculum promotes the British values of tolerance and resilience on a daily basis through problem solving and understanding of complex concepts, encouraging students to persevere and try different methods to arrive at a correct solution. Teamwork underpins the schemes of learning. Students work together in all areas of the computing curriculum to support each other and build mutual respect for one another. Students are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them in all computing lessons. This fosters confidence and builds self-esteem, it encourages students to take risks and become lifelong learners whilst using their computational thinking skills in all aspects of life.
Fundamental British Values such as tolerance, respect for everyone, individual liberty and democracy are evident in Design and Technology and help children understand how they can celebrate difference. As children travel through their journey, they become more aware of local and wider differences in the world. They can share their personal experiences and backgrounds, allowing opportunities to explore how different communities are right on their doorstep. Through growth in their knowledge, we succeed in encouraging our pupils to gain strong partnerships within diversity.
There are numerous opportunities for pupils to gain a greater understanding or awareness of love, respect, tolerance and justice through reading, writing and discussion. The children learn about their place in our rich, diverse world.
God, His earth and His people are at the centre of all teaching here at St. Thomas Aquinas.. Through different topics in our Geography curriculum, children learn how people and places have changed over time. As children travel through their Geography journey, the children become more aware of local and wider differences in the world.
The fundamental British Values are evident throughout the history curriculum as children learn about the development of democracy, the rule of law and individual liberty. Through history pupils will begin to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change and the diversity of societies and relationships, developing a respect and tolerance for others and celebrating differences.
The mathematics curriculum promotes the British values of tolerance and resilience on a daily basis through problem solving and understanding of complex concepts, encouraging students to persevere and try different methods to arrive at a correct solution. Pupils work together in all areas of the maths curriculum to support each other and build mutual respect for one another. Pupils are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them in all maths lessons. This fosters confidence and builds self-esteem, it encourages pupils to take risks and become lifelong learners whilst using their mathematical skills in all aspects of life.
The fundamental values present in our lessons are democracy; individual liberty; mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
Pupils develop respect of other people’s opinions through discussion on musical preferences. They show mutual respect and appreciation for other children’s musical performances. Pupils use democracy when voting on their favourite piece/ performance, using their voice to explain their choices and also work together in collaboration during performances. They develop tolerance for other children’s opinions when talking about favourite music genres and they follow rules and learn how to take turns through musical games to make a successful musical experience. Children develop their individual liberty during solo, group performances and class/year group productions developing their self-esteem, confidence and pride.
Fundamental British Values are evident in Physical Education and children understand how it can celebrate difference. Children are usually already aware of the existence of detailed sets of rules which govern behaviours on the field of play. PE provides an excellent opportunity to discuss and make explicit the need for such rules and laws governing conduct, as well as the concepts of interdependency and mutual cooperation. Mutual respect and an atmosphere of tolerance will support children in other aspects in the community.
In PSHE, children are taught about British Values and democracy. They learn about why there is a need for rules and laws and how to take part in making and changing laws.
Pupils are taught about social justice and the importance of showing respect to all members of society. Children will be taught to understand and respect diversity and different religious and cultural practices. Diversity within St. Thomas Aquinas School is celebrated through Roots Week, World Religion Week etc.
Christ is at the centre of all we do at St Thomas Aquinas and the children’s learning is rooted in the Gospel values. Our children, through their understanding of the Gospel and British values have a deep-rooted sense of what is right and wrong. They are taught to understand that God has given them the freedom to choose to make the right choice in terms of how they behave. Our Catholic faith is built on love, respect and tolerance and by following in the footsteps and guidance of Jesus. Learning about other faiths means that our children are tolerant, showing respect to others. They know that they are unique and made in the image and likeness of God and they appreciate the rich and diverse world that they are part of.
Teamwork is encouraged and we see and promote respect and democracy when children work within groups. We encourage our pupils to have an open mind to different concepts, where we support and refute evidence and findings. Pupils appreciate the rich and diverse world that they are part of and try to make the right choice in terms of how they behave in school and in society.
The Big Question
To learn about and celebrate our country, each class from Year 1 to Year 6 has been set a weekly discussion and debate challenge in the form of 'The Big Question'. An interactive display board has been set up in the hall and each class has been posting their responses onto the weekly challenge board. Please take a look at some examples from our British Values board.
If you could introduce a new law what would it be?
Does our teaching and learning in R.E have an impact on our understanding of the British values?