At Charles Darwin School we are all proud to belong to a community which encompasses both urban and rural catchments. Our work on experiencing social, moral, spiritual and cultural understanding empowers us to develop our students’ understanding and experience of modern British values: what it means to be a British citizen and how we can all promote tolerance, resilience and an understanding of other cultures. Not only are these values of British citizens, but underpin the values of good citizens in our global community.
Through the curriculum, through pastoral experiences during tutor times and assemblies and through extra-curricular work, our pupils gain an understanding of these values through:
- Understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;
- Appreciating that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;
- Understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence;
- Understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;
- Accepting that other 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; and
- Understanding the importance of identifying and combating discrimination.
Pupils are taught about democracy from a theoretical perspective in History and Citizenship which will be continued with the teaching of Philosophy and Ethics. This area of humanities is where they consider the advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law works in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries. Pupils also experience how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes through the election of the head boy and head girl, which involve all pupils, teaching and non-teaching staff, from the hustings and selection through to manifesto and ballot box voting. Pupils also elect on a termly basis the student voice representatives who are then also shortlisted to run for school council. Student council and student voice both have decision making meetings that are minuted.
The Rule of Law
Students are taught the value and reasons behind the rules which we abide by in school and also the wider laws that exist within society. Laws are covered in the history curriculum. The Police present in assembly on the law and we have representatives from Transport for London to assemblies with years 7-9 to discuss the law and the rules of using public transport. E-safety and the law is covered in all year groups.
Pupils are taught that with rights come responsibilities. We provide a curriculum that promotes debates and discussions within class. This enables learners to make informed choices based on the evaluation of facts. For example, students are taught about the risks of using the internet and how they can keep themselves safe in ICT lessons, rights and ethics surrounding scientific discoveries, stem cells and designer babies would be one example taught in science.
Respect and Tolerance
Respect and tolerance are promoted in all subject areas and through the pastoral system. Assemblies focus on developing an understanding that different cultures might have different values and beliefs and to use appropriate opportunities in lessons and through the pastoral programme to allow pupils to experience other cultures. Parents speak highly of the way in which that the school fosters the development of pupils’ understanding of respect and tolerance.