British Values Statement
South Pennine Academies is required under section 78 of the Education Act 2002 to promote the spiritual, moral, mental and physical development of students. As of November 2014, academies also need to promote fundamental British values as part of the academy curriculum.
South Pennine Academies is committed to serving its community. It recognises the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the UK. It also understands the vital role it has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the trust are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.
It follows equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. South Pennine Academies is dedicated to preparing students for their adult life beyond the formal, examined curriculum and ensuring that it promotes and reinforces British values to all its students.
The DfE has suggested that students are taught about fundamental British values during their spiritual, moral and cultural (SMSC) classes. Students are expected to display knowledge of the fundamental aspects of British values. The government has outlined their expectations, stating that students should:
- Understand the democratic process and how citizens can have a say in decision making.
- Recognise the advantages to living under the rule of law and how law is essential for a safe society.
- See that there is a separation of power and why it exists.
- Understand the reasons for accountability of institutions and why courts maintain independence.
- Know why freedom of religion protects all faiths, as well as those with no faith.
- Accept that people who hold different religious beliefs should be tolerated and not be discriminated against.
- Value the importance of identifying and combatting extremism.
South Pennine Academies does not have to promote or teach any particular belief, view or way of life that contradicts our outlook or ethos; however, we will not promote discrimination, or accept intolerance against people or groups, on the basis of their belief, opinion or background across our organisation.
Democracy - The principle of democracy is consistently reinforced across our academies, with the democratic process being employed for important decisions within each academy community, for instance, elections being held for Head Students. The principles of democracy are explored in History and Religious Studies as well as in pastoral time and assemblies. Student Voice ensures that our students exercise their democratic rights and feel part of big decisions within our academies.
The rule of law - We believe it is important for students to understand why rules are in place, the purpose that they serve, and the consequences of breaking them. We are keen to promote environments where students are able to clearly distinguish between right and wrong; and do the right thing because they want to, not simply because they feel compelled to. We also promote the understanding of the relationship between cause and effect and the importance of taking responsibility for their own actions, which is vital to becoming a productive and upstanding member of society.
Students quickly grow to understand that the rules that govern their academies are microcosms of the laws that govern the workplace and, ultimately, society. Clear correlations are drawn between academy rules and the rules that students encounter in their day-to-day lives, so students are fully aware that there are actions and behaviours which are prohibited and punishable in all contexts.
In order to ensure that students respect Academy rules, our academies take care to apply them fairly and consistently so that boundaries – and the repercussions of overstepping them – are clearly defined. Our academies high expectations with regard to behaviour are also regularly reinforced during assemblies and form time across our academies. Students are rewarded and celebrated for exemplary behaviour, attendance and academic performance.
Individual freedom - We encourage students to become good, valued and successful citizens. Our academies do this by supporting each student to become as independent as possible. Each academy has a strong culture of giving time and energy to voluntary work and charity fundraising. Our academies invest a great deal of time in creating a positive culture, so that children are in a safe environment where choices and freedoms are encouraged. Our academies offer a range of enrichment activities which students have the freedom to choose from, based on their interests.
Mutual respect - Respect is a core value. This is evidenced in the charity work and community service projects our students and academies undertake for the benefit of people who are experiencing the effects of food poverty, loneliness and isolation. Our academies have a zero-tolerance approach to bullying; the strong sense of community is felt by all of our students; and the high standards that characterise our teaching and learning environments.
Students are encouraged to communicate openly and honestly, and to listen to – and respect – the views of others, even in instances where disagreements arise. We expect all students in leadership roles, as well as our staff members, to model exemplary behaviour and conduct themselves in a manner that commands the respect worthy of someone in a position of authority.
Our Academies use assemblies to highlight the diverse nature of British society and the right for each person to be respected for their choices. Our Academies teach students that they should never judge a person, and encourage them to become compassionate, open-minded and accepting.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs - Our academies serve multi-faith communities where each person is respected and valued equally without regard to ability, gender, faith, heritage or race.
We offer a broad and balanced curriculum in which all major religions are studied and respected. Our assemblies help all students to find out about themselves and others; linking their lives to the communities in which they belong. We place great emphasis on providing opportunities to participate in events and celebrations to broaden all students’ experiences and awareness of others.
In our academies we believe that tolerance of different faiths and beliefs are best gained through knowledge and understanding. Through our curriculum as well as the routines of daily life at every academy, we strive to not only learn about but also to demonstrate tolerance and help children to become knowledgeable and understanding citizens who can build a better Britain for the future.
Identifying radicalisation - Our academies believe and actively support the view that all students should be protected from radicalisation and extremism. Our approach to this is in line with the Government’s CONTEST and PREVENT strategies.
Our academies commitment to safeguarding student welfare means we are vigilant to monitoring vulnerability to radicalisation including:
- Family tensions
- Sense of isolation
- Distance from cultural heritage
- Experience of racism or discrimination
- Feeling of failure
Our academies are committed to educating students with regard to their engagement and acceptance with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Our academies aim to support our students in developing and demonstrating skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully in and contribute positively to life in modern Britain.