British Values at the heart of who we are as a Catholic School
Throughout our curriculum and each and every day across our School, we focus on the Gospel values which encapsulate what the Government has defined as British Values. The Government has reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
These values are very much part of what we teach and how we are at St Thomas’.
Democracy is seen throughout the school. Our children have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council, Eco Warriors, Year 6 Playground Leaders and Sports Crew. These positions are elected with hustings in upper Key Stage 2. The children also learn about our country and its laws and how they are made through our curriculum. In 2016 we had our own EU Referendum and voted overwhelmingly to Remain following speeches and discussion lead by School Council. Last year our General Election in June produced the same result as in our actual constituency later in the day! Each year the whole school celebrates Parliament week and our local MP, Anne Milton, is a regular visitor. We teach the importance of listening to and respecting all voices – even those that are in the minority.
The Rule of Law:
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school worship. The children are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Our Golden Rules contain all the laws in our school and the golden thread that runs through them all is that we treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves.
Within school, our children are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. It is a key element of being a St Thomas’ Learner that we welcome challenges and take risks in meeting them. We encourage the children to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our online-Safety lessons. Whether it be through choice of approach in a lesson, of how they record, of participation in our numerous co-curricular clubs and opportunities or through the offices of our various Pupil Voices, the children are given the freedom to make choices.
Our school ethos and behaviour policy revolve around the Gospel Values which demand each of us to show love and respect to others.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
We are a Catholic School and make no apology for that. Our faith is central to all that we do but it is a living faith, a faith that lives in our world. Our school community is diverse and we cherish that. We help our children understand that we live in a richly diverse society and do what we can to bring that diversity into the school. Worship and discussions around and about prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school and we encourage these opportunities to learn from and about each other. Our work with the wider community has no barriers – we raise and donate to charity substantial sums of money each year and help a wide and varied set of causes, selected by our Pupil Voice. We always look to treat others as we would like to be treated.