Queen Elizabeth's High School recognises its responsibility to ensure that all of our students are afforded opportunities to develop into well rounded, confident and open-minded young adults with an appreciation of life in modern Britain.
QEHS actively promotes 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 and principles are reflected in the responsibilities, rights and privileges of being a British citizen or permanent resident of the United Kingdom. As such, these values and principles are based on history and traditions and are protected by law, customs and expectations. QEHS is an advocate of the view that there is no place in Bristish society for extremism or intolerance.
What is SMSC and what are British Values?
Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development (SMSC) and British Values contribute to a well-developed and balanced young person, and alongside their academic qualifications, helps to ensure students are ready for a successful life beyond school in modern Britain.
For students at Queen Elizabeth’s High School…
Social development includes:
At QEHS we always cooperate and resolve conflicts peacefully
Moral development includes:
At QEHS we recognise the difference between right and wrong
Spiritual Development includes:
At QEHS we have respect for others and their feelings
Cultural development (or cultural capital) includes:
At QEHS we accept, respect and celebrate diversity
What are British Values?
British Values are a very important part of education. The Department for Education states that there is a 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’.
Schools are expected to actively promote these four British Values, particularly with respect to the Equalities Act of 2010.
The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy defining British Values as follows:
More specifically at QEHS:
We have a School Council that meets at least once a term. Elected School Council members are involved in the meetings. The School Council is involved in gathering opinions about school issues such as environmental issues, charities to support and other key aspects of school life. School Council leaders place emphasis on implementing a ‘majority rule’ when voting on particular issues. Key stakeholders including members of the Leadership Team are present at these meetings and value this time as an opportunity to discuss school improvement with students.
2. The Rule of Law
We consistently reinforce the importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country. Students are taught from Year 7 the rules of the school. One of our key strands of our QEHS Learner Standards is Behaviour for Learning. We teach our students the value and reasons behind rules and laws and that these are there to govern and protect us. We also help our students to understand the responsibilities that are associated with following rules and laws and the consequences when people do not abide by these.
3. Individual Liberty
We actively encourage students to make positive choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we provide a structured and safe environment within which students are able to make informed choices, whilst also receiving an empowering education. Students are given the freedom to make choices and in doing so become critical thinkers through evaluating, reflecting, and collecting valid and reliable evidence. As critical thinkers, students make good decisions, for example, through choice of challenge, how they record their learning using key skills to present information and communicate ideas, or by choosing to participate in our numerous enrichment clubs and opportunities.
Safeguarding our students is of paramount importance so through our PSHE lessons we aim to equip students with the skills to make safe, sensible and well informed choices.
4. Mutual Respect
We ensure students take part in discussions and assemblies related to what mutual respect means. We also encourage students to demonstrate responsibility for others at all times. We give rewards for positive attitudes and behaviours and there is a yearly cup awarded to the House that has accrued the most House Points. Our learner Standards promote respect for others as reflected in our approach to Behaviour for Learning and associated classroom and school rules. High levels of mutual respect are obvious in school and demonstrate daily the excellent relationships between staff and students.
5. Tolerance of those of different Faiths and Beliefs
Religious Education, Citizenship and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. We encourage the members of different faiths and religions to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the wider school. Students visit places of worship that are important to different faiths as an integral part of our Religious Education curriculum.
Why are SMSC and British Values important at QEHS?
The statutory requirement that schools should encourage pupils SMSC development, as well as academic progress, is included in the Education Act of 2002 and the Academies Act of 2010.
A House of Lords education debate clearly recognised that there is more to life than achieving high standards in academic subjects. This challenge was described as:
‘…the training of good human beings, purposeful and wise, themselves with a vision of what it is to be human and the kind of society that makes that possible.’ (Hansard 2006)
This view has expressed itself in education since then as the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda, SEAL (Social & Emotional Aspects of Learning), Community Cohesion & British Values.
The world around us has changed considerably and will continue to do so – a technology and social media revolution, environmental concerns, increased migration and travel, the threat from extremism to name a few, but the recognition that to thrive in modern society young people need life skills, a way of determining what is morally right, to retain a sense of wonder and curiosity towards the world around them, to be culturally and religiously literate, emotionally self-aware and mentally resilient, socially adept and appreciative of the importance of being part of a local, British and worldwide community with commonly held values remains unchanged.
How does SMSC and British Values fit with the QEHS vision?
Successful SMSC and British Values provision permeates the whole school and is linked to everything we do, the ethos, values and the kind of place QEHS is.
Where will I find SMSC and British Values in the school?
SMSC and British Values are everywhere but not necessarily obvious. They may be visible through: decisions taken by the Leadership Team; the interactions and relationships between everyone who is part of the QEHS community; found within the academic curriculum; lessons and extra-curricular opportunities; or will be promoted through the pastoral support system, Year groups, tutor periods and drop down days, and via opportunities for older students to mentor younger ones.
It is an expectation at QEHS that all staff can, and should, contribute to the active promotion of SMSC development and the British Values students need for life beyond school. It is also an expectation that all students can contribute to and share in positively enriching the experiences of their peers whilst at QEHS.
Do The Parents/Guardians Influence What Goes On In The School In Any Way?
As a school we offer opportunities for Parents/Guardians to voice their opinions through regular questionnaires and through our QEHS Parental Working Groups. The outcomes of these questionnaires and working groups are acted upon as we continually strive to enhance our relationships as illustrated in the QEHS Golden Triangle of Success.