The Department for Education has placed a duty on schools ‘to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with difference faiths and beliefs.’
These values are reinforced regularly at Diss High School in the following ways:
There is a strong commitment to ‘student voice’. Every year group has a year council whose representatives are voted for by students to illustrate student democracy. Ideas are fed to the school council for debate. The senior prefect team oversee the school council and they also take responsibility for a range of well-being including the mentoring system that is in place to aid transition from primary school to high school. Student voice ideas are presented to the Senior Leadership Team for discussion and feedback is provided. Student panels always form a key part of the consultation process e.g. for lunch menus, senior staff appointments, uniform changes.
The key concepts of democracy and justice, rights and responsibilities and identities and diversity are covered in the PSHEE curriculum and General Studies. Students are taught about democracy and the democratic process, including respect for the basis on which law is made and applied in England.
Students are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views when discussing political/philosophical/religious views. Opportunities are provided for students to participate in peer group debate.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the school community or the county, are consistently reinforced throughout the school day, as well as when dealing with behaviour. Students are taught to respect the value and reasons behind the school’s rules and code of conduct as well as the laws that govern and protect us. The responsibilities that this involves and the consequences of laws being broken are considered during assemblies, PSHEE lessons and General Studies. Visits from authorities such as the Police, Fire Service and road safety team are regular parts of the school calendar and help reinforce the message. The key concepts of democracy and justice, rights and responsibilities, identities and diversity are considered in Humanities lessons, English lessons, Media, Drama, Government and Politics, Sociology, Business, Classics and Science.
Student surveys regularly confirm that the overwhelming majority feel safe and secure in school. Students are actively encouraged to make informed choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. The school has an inclusive philosophy in which tolerance and acceptance are key. Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms in a responsible way through e-safety and PSHEE lessons and assemblies. Participation in extra-curricular clubs and opportunities for all students in such things as sport, music, DofE Award enables students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and confidence. Effective risk assessments are in place to safeguard and promote students’ welfare.
Diss High School is a UNICEF ‘Rights Respecting School’. This ethos promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our behaviour policy. Actively promoting fairness and equality for all, means challenging students, staff and parents who express opinions contrary to fundamental British values. Incidents of concern are recorded, actively followed up and monitored. PSHEE education includes a requirement for students to be taught about the UK’s relations in Europe, including the European Union and the wider issues and challenges of global interdependence and responsibility. This provides the context for the school to organise and participate in enrichment events such as the International Day for Languages. The school encourages respect through comparison and celebration of cultural difference through our International Partnership links with schools e.g. in The Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
Tolerance of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
Deeper understanding of religious beliefs and of cultural diversity is explained as part of the PSHEE and Humanities curriculum at Key Stage 3 and through general studies at Key Stage 4. Students are given opportunities to discover, engage with and celebrate both their own beliefs and those of others within the school and of those in the wider community. The wider curriculum provides opportunities for discussions and debate that consider prejudice, cultural identity and diversity. Our students are developing into global active citizens by exploring what it means to be British as part of a wider discussion of their identities and the values associated with them.