Life in Modern Britain at St James

Life in Modern Britain

At St James we prepare children for life in modern Britain by upholding and teaching pupils about ‘British Values’ which the government defines as:

  • democracy
  • rule of law
  • individual liberty
  • mutual respect
  • tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

The school takes opportunities to actively promote British Values through our daily assemblies/collective acts of worship and whole school systems and structures. We also actively promote the British values through ensuring that our curriculum planning and delivery includes real opportunities for exploring these values. Actively promoting British Values also means challenging pupils, staff or parents/ carers expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.At St James, ‘British Values’ are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:Once the School Council is established, they meet every half-term with an agreed agenda and, whilst they are supervised by an adult, they do have a nominated Chair and in Year 6 who lead the meetings. The Eco council put out an agenda for all classes to discuss prior to the meeting and each class representative then brings the views of the class back to the meeting.

  • Rule of Law – At St James, the importance of laws and rules, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout the school day.Daily assembly sets the tone for the day in terms of our high expectations and, over the year, children work towards merits, in teams as well as Star of the Week awards for exceptional work and behaviour. We also reward children for following the school rules and expectations.
  • Individual Liberty – Pupils are actively encouraged to make choices at our school, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our e-Safety teaching and PSHE lessons. Pupils are given the freedom to make choices, e.g. signing up for extra-curricular clubs, choose the level of challenge in some lessons and are becoming increasingly more involved in child–led learning, e.g. through our enquiry based thematic curriculum and planning/ delivering child led assemblies and learning reflection activities.
  • Mutual Respect – Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy are based around core Christian values such as ‘respect’ and ‘responsibility’ and these values determine how we live as a community at St James. We have strong links with St. James church and Rev. Payne, visits school regularly to lead collective worship and to teach about Christian values and ideas. Children also have the opportunity to visit St. James to see the workings of a Christian Church.We have a team of KS2 children who are trained as Anti-bullying Ambassadors, who support their peers in conflict resolution as well as leading whole school initiatives to support tolerance and understanding.
  •  Development of Skills & Attitudes to Contribute Positively to Life in Modern BritainEach class representative feeds class views into Eco Council about any matters arising in school that children wish to address and children understand that this is a democratic process.Older children are encouraged to support younger children at key times such as assemblies and lunch times. Children learn about careers right from starting in foundations and they benefit from visitors speaking to them about career prospects for the future.A variety of extra-curricular activities are available to promote a positive mental attitude and team spirit. Children learn about healthy competition and how working together can make us stronger.
  • Cultural InfluencesChildren also learn about the world wars and commemorate November 11th each year in lots of different ways, e.g. by buying poppies, watching clips, carrying out research, singing and reading poetry.
  • Artistic, Sporting & Cultural OpportunitiesWe provide a broad balanced and progressive Art curriculum which is integrated into other areas of the curriculum. The school’s aim is to enable each child to reach their full potential in Art, through investigating and making, research and the development of skills and through the evaluation of their own artwork and that made by others. We aims to ensure that all pupils know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.Mrs Wilkinson co-ordinates PE & School Sport and all children take part in competitive and non-competitive games each year across a variety of sports. Many children also become ‘Sports Leaders’ and play an active part in supporting others.All teachers plan a range of artistic, sporting and cultural opportunities across the year so that learning in all areas is enriched.
  • RE is taught throughout the school and follows the Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus for RE. The overall aim of the subject is to enable pupils to develop respect for different beliefs whilst providing them with the opportunities to develop and discover their own personal values. The curriculum reflects the fact that the UK is a multi-cultural society with Christianity as its main religion. The teaching of RE is both creative and varied. Approaches include food tasting, drama, visiting the local Church, exploring festivals through art, re-telling important stories and considering personal beliefs.
  • At St James we provide a broad, balanced and progressive music curriculum which is integrated into other areas of the curriculum where appropriate. We use Oxfordshire Music online Charanga programme which is a 21st Century interactive ICT package to deliver music lessons in an innovative and engaging way. Each child is recognized as having different abilities and aptitudes. Children are encouraged to make individual progress during music lessons through a range of activities, irrespective of their starting level. As well as music lessons, children sing each week in assembly and as part of performances and productions.
  • Each class makes regular visits out of school to local places of interest, often with artistic historical, or cultural significance. E.g. children enjoy visits to museums, art galleries and sporting venues.
  • We have planned our curriculum carefully to include study about our local heritage. We regularly use the village of Hanney, Wantage and Oxford as focuses for visits, and learn about the industries which have supported the area across history. The children know that we live in the South East of England and know about various places, including local landmarks such as the Ridgeway, and White Horse Hill.
  • All children are aware of individual targets that they have and work towards these with an evaluative attitude.
  • Children learn about key figures in history, who have contributed to positive changes to society and consider how they can emulate these ideas. Children have many opportunities for learning about Great Britain and the wider world around us.
  • Children are encouraged to look after the school building and contents and to see the link between finance and material possessions.
  • Assemblies involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying are followed up by learning in RE and PSHE. Any concerns raised about lack of tolerance or respect for others on school premises, are followed up stringently.
  • Each half-term we have assemblies and lessons in each year group about different religions. This complements our RE curriculum so that children get an overview of a range of religions, whilst learning about one religion in depth each year.
  • Tolerance of Those of Different Faiths & Beliefs – Children need to learn how to show respect for others and understand that difference is not only acceptable, but welcome. Children know that everyone is welcome in our school. Daily collective worship and work in class ensure that this message is constantly reinforced.
  • Children and adults alike, including visitors, are challenged if they are disrespectful in any way. Values are highly visible around the school and can be seen in posters, certificates and as part of our Home/School Agreement.
  • At the start of every school year we focus on citizenship, school rules and behaviour expectations. All of the children are expected to sign and adhere to the Home/School Agreement to remind them about what is expected from them, including how we must behave in school. Children are given time to consider the part that we all play in society. They learn about their rights and also their responsibilities and how our actions have consequences that can affect those around them. Visits from authorities such as the police, fire service and ambulance service are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
  • Any pupil or member of staff can bring an item to be placed on the agenda for discussion but the key focus areas are school priorities, supporting charities and school development.
  • Democracy – Democracy is an important value at our school. Each year begins with a democratic process where each class can nominate representatives for our Eco Council. Children are encouraged to see the link with the real world and to know about the main political parties and how Government works. In 2014, they were also able to consider democracy in light of the Scottish referendum.
  • These values are taught explicitly through Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Emotional Education(PSHE), Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural Education (SMSC) and Religious Education (RE).  We also teach the British Values through planning and delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.

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