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British Values and Prevent

During 2014 the Department for Education published guidance on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.

All have a duty to ‘actively promote’ the fundamental British values of

  • democracy
  • the rule of law
  • individual liberty
  • mutual respect
  • tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

These values were first set out by the government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011 and the Prevent duty for schools and childcare providers (2015).

All schools must have a clear strategy for embedding these values and show how their work with pupils has been effective in doing so, which will be taken into account during Ofsted inspections.

Examples of the understanding and knowledge pupils are expected to learn include:

  • an understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
  • an understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law
  • an acceptance that people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
  • an understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination

Examples of actions schools can take to promote British values are to:

  • include in suitable parts of the curriculum - as appropriate for the age of pupils - material on the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries

  • ensure all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrate how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes such as a school council whose members are voted for by the pupils

  • use opportunities such as general or local elections to hold mock elections to promote fundamental British values and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view

  • consider the role of extra-curricular activity, including any run directly by pupils, in promoting fundamental British values