In line with our overarching mission, vision and values, at Ark Burlington Danes Academy we are fully committed to the promotion, teaching and implementation of British values in all aspects of school life. These are the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and respect and tolerance for other religions. Although we recognise that these values are not exclusive to this school, community or country, we believe that our students’ adherence to them is necessary if they are to grow into outstanding British citizens.
We value democracy because democratic systems provide the best possible opportunity for individuals and groups to live in freedom and security. Democracy shows students that they are valued members of our community and that their voices can be heard and will be listened to. We work to ensure all of our students understand democratic systems in our local, national and international communities and we actively explain the responsibility and privilege they have to participate in them. At Ark BDA we create opportunities to teach students about democratic processes across the curriculum, in tutor time and assemblies and through the citizenship components in our PSCHE programme. We model and engage students in democratic processes through student council elections, mock elections and referenda. We encourage students to actively campaign for issues that they believe in and we support them to stand for office in the local Youth Parliament and National Youth Parliament. Alongside this, we give every student of our school a voice by participating in Hammersmith and Fulham’s annual Make Your Mark consultation that forms the manifesto for the Youth Council.
We value the rule of law because any fair society is underpinned by laws which are applied equally to all without fear or favour. We want all of our students to understand the importance of our legal system and their own rights and responsibilities within it. To this end we explicitly teach them about these issues in the citizenship components in our PSCHE programme, our tutor time activities, as well as inviting visiting speakers from the judiciary, legal profession and the local police service to share information, knowledge and experiences with our students. At Ark BDA we have a robust anti-bullying culture and, critically, implement a fair and consistent behaviour management system where the rights and responsibilities of all are clear and are respected.
We value individual liberty because it is integral to the wellbeing of each and every citizen. We want our students to understand the importance of their own liberties including, for example, freedom of expression and freedom of worship. We also want them to understand the importance of exercising these liberties responsibly and of respecting the liberties of others. To this end we explore these issues across the curriculum and actively encourage students to exercise their freedom of speech through student voice activities, including participation in the Student Council, student questionnaires and focus groups. Debate and discussion are strongly promoted across the academy. In addition to formal debate clubs and competitions, time and space are given across subjects for students to share and challenge one another’s views and opinions. We help students to raise awareness for the issues that concern them through daily student reflections, assemblies and support to lead school-wide campaigns. We provide students with spaces and time to pray, to be mindful and to discuss their ideas, their faith and their hopes and dreams with staff and their peers.
We value respect and tolerance because they underpin the creation of a society where there is equality of opportunity for all and where diversity is celebrated. Although we are a Christian community, we want our students to have the opportunity to explore and express their own faith backgrounds and to learn about those of others so that they do, indeed, treat them with respect. This is a central aim of our RE programme across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. We explicitly teach and explain the importance of respect in lessons, assemblies and the pastoral programme. We actively promote our school’s diversity and students’ freedom of expression through a wide range of events. Our House system also unites students throughout the academy and provides the platform for character development through the values that each house stands for. Students are able to work with other students from across the school to share their passions and develop their interests in a spirit of friendly competition and loyalty to a community.
The values that are essential to positive and active citizenship in modern day Britain are central to our life and work at Ark Burlington Danes Academy. They are visible in our routines, our language and the lessons we teach; they are shared explicitly and implicitly through our systems of pastoral care, our House system and in our daily interactions. We believe that these values should be explicitly taught, modelled and celebrated.