Although teaching British Values is an OFSTED requirement, many schools struggle to fit it into a busy school week. It can become a black cloud hanging over teachers with no obvious solution. How do you actually weave British Values into lessons to evidence that they’re being taught? And all without being too “box-ticky”? Most importantly, how do you make British Values exciting to teach and fun to learn?
Here are three tips from what I have learnt from other teachers to make covering British Values easier:
- Make your classroom a space for debate and discussion
Participation in democracy is one of the key British Values, and getting your class debating and discussing is a great way to evidence this (but is not always easy). The key I found to capturing pupils’ interest was finding a topic that interests them that also links to a live issue. I’ve spoken to teachers who use VotesforSchools lessons on eating insects and renting clothes to get pupils used to debating. One did this as a 5-10 minute intro to a core subject, getting pupils to debate eating insects as a starter to a science lesson. I also know teachers who will run a debate during circle time at least once a fortnight.
- Build on knowledge of other faiths and religions
Many topical issues in the news either feature religious views or feature issues that people with different religious beliefs would have different attitudes towards. This provides an opportunity to a) show why Religious Education is vital to understanding the world around us and b) cover the British Values curriculum. One teacher told me how they do plenaries in RE lessons which ask pupils what perspective someone from the faith they are currently studying might take on an issue that is in the news. For instance, they asked pupils to think about how someone who is Hindu might react to people eating insects.
- Covering the ‘rule of law’
Here’s a tricky one for Primary schools: how to involve the teaching of ‘rule of law’ in lessons. It neither seems like an easy nor an interesting area of the curriculum. However there are parts to it which pupils will want to discuss. Here are some ideas for subjects that might captivate pupils:
- whether your high street is disability-friendly
- whether we should leave people who live in uncontacted or remote tribes alone
- whether half of the world should be fenced off just for animals/wildlife
In all of these, you can touch on what the laws are and whether people respect them. Any schools using the VotesforSchools programme, have been able to use their resources to teach each of these topics.
VotesforSchools’ resources are designed to be mapped specifically to the British Values curriculum, and the weekly topics mean they make scheduling simple. There is a fantastic team of teachers who work tirelessly every week to make stimulating lessons that focus on the issues that matter. For more information check out www.votesforschools.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob is a primary school teacher who also assists the VotesforSchools content team in producing new lessons each week.