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British Values and Cultural Capital

British Values and Cultural Capital

The DFE (Department for Education) state that:

'Schools have the responsibility 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.'

(Department for Education)

The Government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. In June 2014, the DfE reinforced the need for “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.”

Preparing for life in Modern Britain: British Values

At Snape Wood Primary and Nursery School, we take very seriously our responsibility to prepare children for life in modern Britain, and promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.

We ensure that the fundamental British Values are introduced, discussed and lived out through the ethos and work of the school.

Our school reflects British values in all that it does. We encourage our children to be creative, unique, open-minded and independent individuals, respectful of themselves and of others in our school, our local community and the wider world. We aim to nurture our children on their journey through life so they can grow into safe, caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who make a positive difference to British Society and to the wider world.

At Snape Wood Primary, we aim to ensure that our PRIDE values align closely with British values and through these our pupils will become productive citizens of modern Britain. These values are threaded throughout school life and evident in pupils’ behaviour in all areas.

All curriculum areas provide a vehicle for furthering understanding of these concepts and in particular, our PSHE lessons which follow the SCARF scheme of work.

The Early Years Curriculum includes Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Understanding the World which help children to respect and value all people and provide opportunities to deepen and develop understanding. Children at Snape Wood, embrace these concepts with enthusiasm and demonstrate a good understanding of how to apply to their own lives.

Our school makes considerable efforts to ensure children have exposure to a wide experience beyond their local community during which these concepts are shown. Sporting events, a range of enrichment activities including trips and visitors and the use of outdoor education are planned to ensure children’s experiences are broad, meaningful and varied.

Their strong rooted ‘PRIDE Values’ understanding gives them an excellent platform for embracing difference.

What are British Values?

The government have asked schools to explain how they promote British values. It, and other institutions, have attributed specific values as being British, and these fall into the following broad areas:

  • Democracy
  • The Rule of Law
  • Individual Liberty
  • Mutual Respect
  • Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

How are British Values taught in our school?

Promoting British Values is a central part of teaching and learning. By promoting these we aim for children to become well-rounded members of society. These British Values are promoted through the curriculum, across the whole school. They are also seen in our school’s ethos and policies, assemblies, special events and cultural celebrations. Below are some examples of how each of the British Values are promoted in school.


  • Positive Attitude
  • Respect
  • Inquisitive
  • Determination
  • Empathy 

At SWPS, British Values are taught and reinforced in the following ways:

How do we promote Democracy?

  • Each year the children decide upon their class rules and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of these rules.
  • We have a school council which meets to discuss issues raised in class discussion time and any other issues that may arise. Every child on the school council is voted in by their classmates. Children are able to put forward their views about the school. This teaches children about how they can influence decision making through the democratic process
  • Our Primary Parliament members are actively involved in activities for the community and attend the council house for debates and discussions,
  • Provide pupils with a broad general knowledge of, and promote respect for, public institutions and services;
  • Taught through assemblies and our school curriculum;
  • Encourage pupils to become involved in decision-making processes and ensure they are listened to in school;
  • Help pupils to respectfully express their views e.g. through English lessons and opportunities to present work and opinions.
  • Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of not only their school but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility and is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils. 

How do we promote the Rule of Law?

The importance of rules and laws, whether they be those that govern our school or our country, are referred to and reinforced often, such as in assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. At the start of the school year, each class discusses the school rules and class routines, principles that are clearly understood by all and seen to be necessary to ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment, these rules are displayed in each class. These rules play a fundamental role in our behaviour sanctions and rewards and are linked to our PRIDE values throughout school.

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. These values are reinforced in different ways:

  • Visits from authorities such as the police and fire service
  • Cycling Proficiency (Bike-ability) lessons enable children to understand the rules of the road and the potential dangers encountered should they break those rules.
  • During Religious Education, when rules for particular faiths are thought about
  • During other school subjects, where there is respect and appreciation for different rules
  • We have clear school rules and a clear behaviour policy which are fair. Every child knows what the school rules are and what is expected of them. They also know the consequences that will happen if the rules are not followed which are enforced fairly.
  • At the start of the year ever child and parent/guardian has to read and understand school policies, regarding reading, homework, school uniform – reading/homework
  • We take part in initiatives such as The Great Project and DART which help support some laws. 

How do we promote Individual Liberty?

Alongside rules and laws, we promote freedom of choice and the right to respectfully express views and beliefs. Through the provision of a safe, supportive environment, we provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely; for example:

•choices about how they can improve their learning

•choices around the participation in extra-curricular activities

  • Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Ensure School Rules are displayed in classrooms, around school and discussed regularly
  • As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education.
  • That everyone can make their own choices and understand they are accountable for those choices  
  • Help pupils to distinguish right from wrong e.g. during everyday interactions and discussions of stories, fables and other literary materials.
  • Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it is through choice of learning challenge, or participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.

Assemblies are used to both explore and support the school’s values. By teaching the children how to manage and understand emotions they will be motivated and equipped to:

  • Be effective and successful learners
  • Make and sustain friendships
  • Deal with and resolve conflict evenly and fairly
  • Solve problems with others by themselves
  • Manage strong feelings such as frustration, anger or anxiety
  • Be able to promote calm and optimistic states that promote the achievement of goals
  • Recover from setbacks and persist in the face of difficulties
  • Work and play cooperatively
  • Through opportunities such as our extra-curricular and Residential Trips, pupils are given the freedom to make safe choices
  • Compete fairly and win or lose with dignity and respect for all competitors
  • Recognise and stand up for their rights and the rights of others
  • Understand the value the differences and commonalities between people, respecting the rights of others to have beliefs and values different to their own.
  • To respect and value our world, and the things, both material and alive that exist within it.
  • Children in Year 5 and 6 are given key roles and responsibilities such Primary Parliament Ambassadors, Playground Buddies, Reading Buddies, Sports ambassadors and School Council.

How do we promote Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs? 

SWPS is situated in an area which is not greatly culturally diverse, therefore, we place a great emphasis on promoting diversity with the children. 

  • Assemblies are regularly planned to address this issue either directly or through the inclusion of stories and celebrations of faiths and cultures.  Our R.E and PSHE curriculum coverage reinforces this. 
  • Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. 
  • Children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths, such as the Mosque or Gurdwara.
  • We celebrate different religious festivals – Eid, Diwali, Christmas, Easter, Ramadan
  • Implement a strong anti-bullying culture – as enshrined in our policies for Anti-Bullying and Behaviour.
  • Encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour, as well as knowing their rights e.g. through all of their interaction with adults and each other in school, following the PRIDE values

At SWPS, we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.

How do we promote Mutual respect?

  • We have high expectations of achievement and behaviour. Children and staff are polite and kind. We believe everyone has their own special gifts and we are expected to use them.
  • We listen and respect each other.
  • We teach the children that conflict will be dealt with calmly and fairly.
  • All members of the school family are valued equally.
  • We celebrate lunch time behaviour and taking care of our school environment through Litter picking crews and Planting squads.
  • We celebrate each other’s achievements whether that be in or out of school through our weekly Success Assemblies.
  • Teachers plan exciting, interesting, challenging and innovative lessons where everybody is expected to do their best and respect others.
  • When our older children are given key roles and responsibilities to work alongside younger children this helps to promote mutual respect across the age phases. E.g. Reading buddies, Lunchtime ‘Runners’ and ‘helpers’
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Cultural Capital

Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, and skills that a child can draw upon and which demonstrates their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence; it is one of the key ingredients a pupil will draw upon to be successful in society, their career and the world of work.

Cultural capital gives power. It helps children achieve goals, become successful, and rise up the social ladder without necessarily having wealth or financial capital. Cultural capital is having assets that give children the desire to aspire and achieve social mobility whatever their starting point.

In the OFSTED school inspection handbook, Cultural capital it is defined:

“As part of making the judgement about the quality of education, inspectors will consider the extent to which schools are equipping pupils with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life”.

Our understanding of ‘knowledge and cultural capital’ is derived from the following wording in the national curriculum: ‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’

In participating in our ambitious school curriculum, we believe that exposure, not only to culture but also to situations in which the children might not have previous experiences of, is of paramount importance to their ongoing successes.

Gradually widening children’s experiences as they progress through school is an important step in providing rich and engaging learning across the curriculum. We plan carefully for children to have rich experiences in nursery and beyond.

At SWPS, we are developing children’s ‘Cultural Capital’ with exciting activities that are increasing the chances of our children having an educational advantage.

The following activities are a few of the educational advantageous in adding to a child's cultural capital at SWPS:

  • Listening to a wide range of music
  • Reading a range of books including fiction and non-fiction
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Going to museums and having educational experiences
  • Visiting town, city and rural locations
  • Visiting places of worship, e.g.: church
  • Trips to the local woods and parks
  • Travelling on public transport
  • Visit to bookshops or libraries
  • Visit to a care home
  • After school activities
  • Participating in musical events

At SWPS we help children embed cultural capital within our curriculum by providing children with the following opportunities:

  • School trips, linked to the curriculum subject taught
  • Exposure to a wide range of books
  • Exposure to different types of music including world and classical music
  • Develop an understanding of the world by exposing children to experiences and people outside of their usual family and community
  • Forest school experiences and learning outdoors
  • Take part in swimming lessons and learn how to be safe in the water.