Ormiston Rivers Academy provides an inclusive, student-centred approach that offers our young people a high-quality education and develops confident, well informed active citizens who understand their responsibilities in serving their local community and to play their part in being a global citizen.
The Department for Education has reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
Ormiston Rivers Academy is committed to serving its community and surrounding areas. It recognises the multi-cultural, multifaith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom, and therefore those it serves. It also understands the vital role it has in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.
The school accepts admissions from all those entitled to an education under British law, including pupils of all faiths or none. It follows the policies outlined by its governing body regarding equal opportunities, which guarantee that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. It seeks to serve all.
The Government emphasises that schools are required to ensure that key ‘British Values’ are taught in all UK schools. The government set out its definition of British values in the ‘Prevent Strategy’ – values of:
This also aligns with the academy’s obligations, under section 78 of the Education Act (2002), as part of a broad and balanced curriculum to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural and social (SMSC) developments of all students. The academy uses strategies within the National Curriculum and beyond to secure such outcomes for students.
The examples that follow give a flavour of the many ways we seek to embed British Values throughout the academy. They should therefore be seen as an indication of our approach rather than an exhaustive list.
Democracy – Democracy is common within the school where the promotion of democratic processes, fostering the concept and application of freedom of speech and group action to address needs and concerns, are heard through our Student Leadership Team, Student Council, Sixth Form Leadership Team, Sports Captains, Student Voice and Prefects. Also, key to this is the concept of holding others to account, including those in positions of authority and influence.
Student Council is a fantastic opportunity for ORA students to have their say on topics of
importance. The initiative enables student’s perspectives to be heard and agreed actions to be taken to improve learning, policies, programs and principles. At ORA, we are privileged to have a Student Leadership Team that each focus on one of five key areas including Community, Environment, Equality and Diversity, Safeguarding and Wellbeing and Teaching and Learning. Each area is lead by a dedicated member of Teaching staff coupled with Sixth Form and Year 11 Student Council leads. Democracy is promoted through the Student Leadership Team selection process, where pupils are voted into positions on the Student Leadership Team based on their personal pitches, and individual qualities. ORA is proud to have 3 pupils on the OAT Regional Student Council panel, and a further 2 students having been voted in as Vice Chairman and Secretary at a National level.
Our school behaviour policy also involves rewards, with students able to gain positive merit points for exemplary work, effort and improvement in subjects and enrichment activities.
Student voice forms an integral part of decisions at Ormiston Rivers Academy and is used to inform provision. Examples include the use of a whole school voting system to allow students to select the charities that they want to support and champion in the academic year, the use of student feedback to develop a bespoke PSHE and Citizenship curriculum that fully meets the needs and concerns of our Sixth Form students, and student representatives bringing student ideas to our school council to address important whole school initiatives.
The Rule of Law – The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police, Fire Service etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Young Citizens Magistrates Mock Trial Competition helps young people understand how the law touches every aspect of their lives, enabling them to gain an insight into how the legal justice system works. In 2021 we will be running the competition with our Year 8 pupils, where they will enjoy preparing legal arguments for a specially written criminal case. Pupils will then take part in a local heat and go head-to-head with other schools to prosecute and defend the case. The first round of winners will then compete in a regional heat with a new case. Winning teams from regional heats will battle both cases out at a National Final. Democracy and the Rule of Law feature heavily in this project as students will develop their critical thinking skills, be able to build arguments and boost their confidence, knowledge and understanding of the law and the justice system in our society.
Individual Liberty – Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school, we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms with a nationally recognised Pride Youth Network school and sixth form, ORA students are aware of the importance of being able to have freedoms within society. Whether it is through choice of challenge, of how they record, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, all pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
Mutual Respect and Individual Liberty are promoted through our Student Council by enabling students to focus their efforts and views on areas of importance to fellow students, in a safe and courteous environment, helping to bring about change.
Mutual Respect – Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around core values such as ‘Respect’ through ‘Discipline with Dignity’ behavioural strategy, and pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. These ideas are reiterated through the school and classroom rules, as well as our behaviour policy. Additional support is provided for individual pupils, through our Student Support Assistants and Wellbeing Space. This support helps to develop self-esteem and to practise strategies pupils can employ to help improve their respect for others. Wellbeing warriors are in place to support students with this.
Equality Today is a student-led working party, which promotes equality for all. Students are encouraged to stand up in the face of discrimination, by thinking critically about key concerns and experiences and being solution-focused in finding ways to overcome inequality in today’s society, starting with projects within our school. Mutual respect is promoted through the student’s work towards improving equality and diversity for all at our school; with key topics being focussed on including LGBTQ+ rights, Gender, Disabilities, Culture and Ethnicity and Race. Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs is also promoted through the key topics which are a focus of our working group meetings: Culture and Ethnicity and Race. The openness that we encourage as a working party naturally encourages Individual Liberty, as students’ are able to act and express themselves freely and courteously. Our Year 7 working party have been particularly influential in raising awareness of equality and diversity and have been working on plans to run a fate/fundraising event to raise awareness of LGBTQ+, selling badges to promote allyship of our LGBTQ+ population, and have produced an assembly which will be presented to other students in mentor time.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs – This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by providing opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. The school does, through a wide range of activities, secure such standards and uses strategies within the National Curriculum and beyond to secure such outcomes for children.
19 students from across all year groups have also completed training delivered by the Diana Award to become Anti-bullying Ambassadors. Two of our SSA staff team also took part in the training. The training explored issues around bullying and discussed ideas for tackling it. This group of ambassadors are creating and implementing strategies to tackle any bullying that occurs and to promote a tolerant and inclusive community. This is a student-led initiative, one which they feel passionately about.
Please click below to see how British Values is taught throughout our curriculum