Fundamental British values as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”.

At Birchwood, British values are promoted in much of what we do. During assemblies, Religious Education (RE) lessons, Personal , Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons, Philosophy lessons and through our global partnership studies of the world.  The Wheel of Wisdom, our creative curriculum at Birchwood, aims to broaden and enrich children’s learning through a predominantly cross curricular approach. Through this model our pupils are encouraged to work independently, develop skills of research, investigation and problem-solving that can be used across all eleven curriculum areas, build up a positive sense of self as an active life long learner, expand their strengths exploring and using the full range of their human abilities and promote their skills of self-assessment.  The wheel itself is an organisational vehicle to guide pupils through their learning journey. The learning pathway always begins in the ‘What do you know?/How sure are you?’ section, ascertaining the starting point for the learning experiences to follow, and concludes in the ‘Can you generalise?’ segment where the pupils apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to different contexts. Each cross curricular unit of work is supported by Birchwood ‘Bolts’ (Sporting excellence, Food4Life Partnership, Eco-School, Forest School). Whenever possible the children’s learning is drawn from first hand experience and active participation.

All these aspects of learning shape our ethos and values.

As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies. We actively challenge children, staff or parents expressing opinions that are contrary to fundamental values including “extremist” views and are comitted to Safeguarding our pupils who maybe vulnerable to radicalisation.

Being Part of Britain

We celebrate a pattern of traditions and festivals across the year e.g. Harvest Festival, Remembrance Day, Divali, Eid, Easter, Shrove Tuesday, Summer Fete, a range of Christmas celebrations including a KS1 Nativity and Carols around the Christmas tree.  The Lord’s Prayer is recited in assembly on a daily basis.

Our Wheel of Wisdom (WoW) curriculum is a tool which enables us to look at natural features of the British landscape, famous British people and aspects of British life both past and present (please see WoW books and curriculum outlines), e.g.:

  • Prehistoric Britain
  • Guy Fawkes
  • British woodland
  • Studies of artists including Gainsborough, Constable and Pollock
  • Victorians

…… enable our children to look at Democracy

Children, staff, parents and Governors have many opportunities for their voices to be heard.  Some examples include through termly/annual regular parent learning together sessions, Head Teacher briefings, parent questionnaires, Governor ‘Coffee, Cake and Chat’, on-line surveys, parent consultation, formal parents consultations.

Our School Council and Eco Team are elected in a democratic way with each candidate making a speech/application to voters who need to recognise the characteristics that make good representatives. This is then followed by a secret ballot or vote. Both the School Council and Eco Team influence, challenge and change many aspects of school life (see School Council minutes)

Each class decides on its own rules to ensure their room is a happy, respectful, constructive and safe place in which to learn.

Rules and Laws

The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our country or school are referred to and reinforced often.  Class rules and school rules ensure a safe and orderly work place. Roles of responsibility enable the children to reflect on how to make a contribution and our behaviour expectations challenge the children to consistently make positive behaviour choices.

Recent learning experiences such as: BART rules, online safety assemblies, keep safe assemblies, anti-bullying week, off site swimming, circle time, lunch hall rules / peaceful plate, chicken guidelines, cookery school expectations, Busy Bees in Reception, Forest School rules

…. support the children’s understanding of the importance of shaping communities by rules and laws.

Individual Liberty

We promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. We provide sensible boundaries within which our children can make choices for themselves. All adults within our school community pro-actively build trusting, respectful relationships with all children to boost self-esteem and enable children to confidently make good choices.

Some of the situations in which children will make their own choices:

  • How to tackle a next step challenge
  • How best to record their thinking and present their WoW homework
  • Choices in extra-curricular opportunities
  • How to think, reason, debate and justify views in WoW and Philosophy lessons and reflecting upon the Big Question (generated by the School Council)

Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

Our school embraces the cultural diversity which makes learning opportunities and experiences even more important in preparation for later life and in understanding the cultural diversity of British society. Mutual respect is at the heart of our ethos and values. Our children know and understand that our expectation is the appreciation and respect of difference in all its forms.

The children develop understanding of the richness and diversity of differing cultures through:

  • RE – the beliefs, festivals and celebrations of Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam
  • Philosophy - probing 'why' questions to gain an understanding of others actions from different faiths and beliefs
  • PSHE – understanding community
  • English fiction and non-fiction texts
  • Art stimuli
  • Famous people from across the globe e.g. Nelson Mandela