At The Brier School British values are actively promoted.
Promoting British Values is not a question of photographs of 10 Downing Street or the British Prime Minister portrayed in corridors, but promoting values which we should all hold dear. Great Britain is home to the world's oldest democracy; it is also a multicultural country of many faiths and beliefs. This is a crucial point in our nation's history and it is understandable therefore, that schools should have an obligation to reinforce our values. Fair play, respect for others, protection of vulnerable and less fortunate and free speech must be an inherent part of any school or public body.
At The Brier School we consistently aim to promote the following:
- Free speech
- Fair play
- Respect for others
- The right to one's personal beliefs
- Protection of vulnerable and less fortunate
The school council meets regularly where pupils, elected by their peers, have an opportunity to discuss issues important to them and to offer suggestions to improve the school.
The school has three golden rules: the children were invited to think of three basic rules that everyone can understand from which rules on behaviour, conduct and personal progress could be expanded upon. The golden rules are; Be kind (no hurting); Share, (no snatching); Join in, (take turns). The older pupils were allowed to expand upon these rules but had to keep these three as a basis.
The pupils also were allowed to celebrate the UN Charter for children's rights. The children devised their own Brier Charter from the examples at the UN and these are displayed in the school alongside each other.
Naturally there are visits from MPs and councillors and there have been visits to Parliament in London. These visits are arranged as part of the pupils’PSHE and life in living studies. These lessons and visits are not part of tokenism but engender our aim to allow pupils to understand the nature of the country they live in.
Many pupils enjoy assemblies where they have the opportunity to offer their opinions on subjects such as steps to stop bullying, making friends, welcoming others and sharing. These assemblies are part of the school’s termly themes which are subsequently displayed around the school on banners. During anti-bullying week the school’s rules are reiterated and displayed in the policy revisited and revised.
Circle time also allows children to speak about what is important to them or what is on their mind.
Fair play is integral to games, not only in sport, where rules are taught and reinforced, but in the playground. Staff observe and help children struggling with play so that they can get the most out of their free time. The numerous lunchtime clubs and after-school clubs also reinforced Fair play practices.
The rights of children to believe and to celebrate their beliefs are an integral part of the school. Of course, the school has a curriculum that is majority Christian-based but the country and in particular the region in which we live is a multicultural one and this cannot be ignored. Major festivals are recognised and celebrated. For instance many of our transport escorts and drivers are of the Islamic faith. The children are taught to recognise this and celebrations such as Eid are recognised by sending cards and offering good wishes showing mutual respect for each other. Diwali is celebrated each year, Black history month always has a focal point, i.e. Nelson Mandela, Benjamin Zephaniah. These are but a few examples of what we offer in our curriculum.
A special school such as ours should champion the rights of the vulnerable. This we do, all children at the school are valued for their personal strengths and abilities. Indeed, our school motto ' preparing for life – building on our strengths' is highly visible on our literature and in the school hall so as to remind us all of our core values and aims. Nevertheless, despite the children’s own needs, that does not stop the children and staff from supporting a myriad of charities and causes; Christmas shoebox appeal, Macmillan nurses, dare to wear pink, jeans for genes, to name but a few.
The school was featured in The official 'History of Parliament' book for the celebration of Magua Carta and Parliament itself. The school was chosen for its work on integration