British Values


As of September 2014, the DfE requires all schools to promote the historical and current values that underpin the national identity known as “being British”. Within this, all schools are required to ensure that the curriculum actively promotes these fundamental British values.

What is “Britishness”? British values are defined as:

  • Respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic process
  • Respect for the basis on which the law is made and applies in England
  • Individual liberty Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law
  • Respect for and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs

What does ‘Actively promote …’ mean?

  • Focus on, and show how, the school’s work is effective in securing these values
  • Challenging pupils and young people, staff or mums, dads or carers who express opinions contrary to British values


At Summerhill Primary – and in line with the individual pupils’ capacity to understand the concepts and ideas – we aim to:

1. Democracy:

  • Provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of, and promote respect for, public institutions and services
  • Teach pupils how they can influence decision-making through the democratic process
  • Include in the curriculum information on the advantages and disadvantages of democracy and how it works in Britain
  • Encourage pupils to become involved in decision-making processes and ensure they are listened to in school
  • Help pupils learn how to argue and defend points of view
  • Help pupils to express their views
  • Teach pupils how public services operate and how they are held to account
  • Model how perceived injustice can be peacefully challenged

2. Rule of law

  • Ensure school rules and expectations are clear and fair
  • Help pupils to distinguish right from wrong
  • Help pupils to respect the law and the basis on which it is made
  • Help pupils to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals
  • Include visits from the police in the curriculum
  • Teach pupils aspects of both civil and criminal law and discuss how this might differ from some religious laws
  • Develop restorative justice approaches to resolve conflicts

3. Individual liberty

  • Support pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour, as well as knowing their rights
  • Model freedom of speech through pupil participation, while ensuring protection of vulnerable pupils and promoting critical analysis of evidence
  • Challenge stereotypes
  • Implement a strong anti-bullying culture
  • pupils, parents and staffs views are valued and sought, all pupils are made aware, where possible of others needs and how to support each other. Team Teach principles permeate the daily routines and care given to all.

4. Respect and tolerance

  • Promote respect for individual differences
  • Help pupils to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, their own and other cultures and ways of life
  • Challenge prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
  • Organise visits to places of worship
  • Develop links with faith communities
  • Develop critical personal thinking skills
  • Discuss differences between people, such as differences of faith, ethnicity, disability, gender or sexuality and differences of family situations, such as looked-after children or young carers
  • Pupils are encouraged to celebrate diversity, recognise their own and others strengths, encounter, celebrate and appreciate difference – see SMSC, Special days, charity work

At Summerhill Primary we have been looking at 'Britishness' and what it means to our children and young people, staff and school community; below are our parent and carer responses to the questions "What does 'Britishness' mean to you?". We have been exploring the question in assemblies and class.

The children at Summerhill Primary have lots of opportunities to help develop the school and contribute through the School Council.

Learning and activities at Summerhill Primary seek to bring a wider understanding of the world to children and young people and we seek to share this with mums, dads and carers as well. Our chosen charity is Shifa Slum School in India and children regularly like to organise their own cake sales.

Teaching and Learning

Every school is expected to ensure that its curriculum enables the pupils to explore what it means to be British.

Within this, schools are encouraged to develop the pupils’ ability to:

  • describe their own identities and the groups that they feel they belong to;
  • recognise different identities and experiences;
  • appreciate that identity consists of many factors;
  • recognise that each person’s identity is unique and can change;
  • begin to understand the idea of stereotypes.

Activity Examples

In line with their individual cognitive difficulties and special educational needs, the pupils may:

  • discuss the different groups to which they belong;
  • describe themselves to other people:
  • Where are they from etc?
  • Do they like doing?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their beliefs?
  • What clubs do they attend?
  • identify a celebrity who they think is typically British
  • Understand how Britishness differs from being English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh
  • use flash cards to choose qualities they believe best represent Britishness?
  • identify where they form their opinions from (media, family, holidays etc)
  • Evaluate a range of statements about Britishness and state if they are fair? For instance, are they
  • Realistic?
  • Do we all share the same values?
  • Do we all eat roast beef?
  • Do we all binge drink?
  • Explore the value of over-generalisations about people and the pitfalls of stereotyping
  • Explore examples of what other people say about the British (stereotypical):
  • Which of the stereotypes are negative?
  • Can a stereotype be positive?
  • Understand why they think other people have these stereotypes of Britishness
  • Produce a report which will examine and explore the question of Britishness - targeting different audiences for their report (for example a year three child, a visiting student from overseas, etc)