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Headmaster’s Blog – Promoting Fundamental British Values

January 26, 2015

Promoting Fundamental British Values

A new regulation for schools is now to be part of the inspection regime: schools are to ‘actively promote’ fundamental British areidlowres41values (FBV). It is no longer acceptable to ensure that these values are simply ‘present’ but we must now ensure they are clearly emphasised.

This inspection requirement, which I was hearing more about on a course this past week, has come about following concerns regarding extremism in schools (the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ episode). We are now asked to ensure that FBV are embedded within the curriculum and not simply evident in assemblies and PSHE lessons. These values are not exhaustively detailed but do include democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and a mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths or beliefs (or none).

I feel that much of this is part of our ‘DNA’ at Ballard but it will be a useful exercise to analyse and review our school life and curriculum with FBV in mind. We see democratic activities through bodies such as the School Council (two pupils from each Form voted in by their peers). The rule of law exists in the exercise of school rules and their fair application, including discipline and punishment when things go wrong. The School values encapsulated within the Ballard charter (be…respectful, responsible, safe, honest and positive) certainly underline the vitality of individual liberty (but this does not mean ‘liberty without license’). We have a Christian foundation (and this is not under threat here) but we always strive to be tolerant and understanding of those of other faiths or none whilst ensuring there is also a respect for the Christian faith and knowledge of Christianity – a very important part, after all, of historic British values. Moreover, living in a part of the UK without a wide diversity of non-indigenous cultures and backgrounds, we strive to broaden our community’s horizons in ‘small’ ways (flying a different national flag daily, holding an India day, having Japanese origami visitors), as well as ‘large’ (the Comenius Project into Europe, language exchanges and overseas’ cultural trips).

I do hope that as we re-focus on British values here at Ballard and within the schools of the UK (and hopefully this is not only for England and Wales) that we won’t become less tolerant and accepting of others who appear ‘different’.

Alastair Reid

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