British Values

St Mary’s British Values & SMSC Statement

The government set out its definition of ‘British values’ in the ‘Prevent Strategy’ (2011), which was designed to prevent the extremism and religious radicalisation of young people. British values are considered by the government to be:

The rule of law
Individual liberty
Mutual respect
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

The promotion of ‘British values’ is central to Catholic education because British values have their origin in the Christian values of our nation.

“We are proud that Catholic schools promote values that are both Catholic and British, including: respect for the individual, democracy, individual liberty, respect, tolerance and inclusiveness. Our schools promote cohesion by serving more ethnically diverse and poorer communities. Catholic schools provide high standards of education which are popular with parents from all social, economic and faith backgrounds.” 

Paul Barber 
(Catholic Education Service 15 December 2014).

At St. Mary’s we recognise, not only the importance of helping pupils to flourish academically but also spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, so they are fully prepared for life in British society and for their role as citizens, able to make the strongest possible contribution to the Common Good of all. We teach the importance of British Values by going much deeper into the meaning of what it means to live a good life, within a framework of Catholic Christian Values. This provides the context and meaning for understanding why British values are important. Our framework for understanding British values draws on the example of Jesus and his welcome and inclusion of all, which is developed in Catholic Social Teaching. As a Catholic school, we have Christian values at the heart of everything we do. We promote these values through our words and actions, which are reinforced in our weekly Statements to Live By. We provide a Catholic curriculum, which is broad and balanced, recognising that every pupil is unique and is created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). Our curriculum is designed to enable every pupil to discern their vocation and to be well-equipped to follow it as active citizens in service to the world. We also provide a wide range of extra-curricular activities and strong pastoral support. We incorporate democratic principles, value the rule of law, support individual liberty and foster a community in which different faiths and beliefs are respected.  

The following examples are indicative some of the ways in which we seek to promote and embed British Values at St. Mary’s.


We recognise the importance of pupils always having the opportunity to have their voices heard and we actively promote the equality of rights and privileges.

We ensure that all pupils are listened to by adults.
Playground buddies help to resolve playground issues.
Key stage 2 pupils elect House Captains
Each class votes for School Council representatives and class representatives for the Eco-warriors
Pupils contribute to a class Code of Conduct
We highlight the development of democracy in history lessons through our creative curriculum programme.
We learn about Parliament (how MPs and Lords are chosen) and the General Election process
All children are asked to contribute and provide feedback through pupil questionnaires.

The Rule of Law

The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, our school, or the country, is consistently reinforced throughout every day at our school.

We highlight the rules of the Church and God in the RE curriculum.
Our school Golden Rules are displayed throughout the school.
At the beginning of the year, each class creates their own Code of Conduct.
Each class displays and utilises positive behaviour reinforcement charts.
We have a clear behaviour policy that is explained to all pupils, staff and parents.
We regularly organise visits from the police service, fire service to reinforce the message of right and wrong.
Year 6 pupils take part in workshops delivered by representatives from the magistrates courts.

Individual Liberty

We encourage pupils to make independent choices knowing that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. 
  • We teach pupils to see themselves as unique individuals able to make a unique contribution to the school community and beyond.
  • Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms and receive advice about how to exercise these safely –  for example through Circle Times and our exploration of Online Safety.
  • Pupils are always encouraged to be independent in their learning and to try their personal best at all times.
  • We provide pupils opportunities to take on roles of responsibility such as, House Captains, School Council members, Eco-warriors, Mini-vinnies, Year 6/Reception class buddies and Playground buddies.

Mutual Respect

We constantly promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning environments, as well as extra-curricular activities, such as sport. In line with our commitment to democracy, students are always able to voice their opinions as we foster an environment where students can debate ideas and are safe to disagree with each other.

  • Promotion of respect for others is always modelled through good manners
  • Reinforcing the value of everyone’s opinions in class discussions.
  • The school has an effective anti-bullying policy.
  • A whole school week is dedicated to anti-bullying.
  • We support a number of local, national and global charities
  • Teachers emphasise in RE lessons that every person is unique and “created in the image of God.”
  • The values of sportsmanship and respect are actively taught in PE lessons/clubs and expected when pupils participate in sporting competitions.

Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs

As a Catholic worshipping community, pupils are equipped with the ability to develop positive values and understand their own beliefs within a culturally diverse society. 
  • Pupils are taught about other faiths through the RE curriculum. 
  • We give our pupils the opportunities to visit to other places of worship
  • We invite members of different faiths to school to share their knowledge and enhance learning within assemblies and in class.
  • Assemblies and class work promote the diversity of society and the right for each person to be respected and valued equally regardless of ability, gender, faith, heritage or race.
  • Through our RE curriculum we teach religious stories where Jesus encouraged tolerance such as The Good Samaritan