British values – individual liberty and freedom for all

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By Deborah Osborne

In light of the concerns over the possible radicalization of children, the British Government has introduced a new ‘Prevent Duty’ law. This means that ‘British values’ are now a curriculum requirement.

Whilst British values can seem a difficult topic to tackle at times, it’s essential that you do cover this content with your class. Any Ofsted inspector worth their salt will want you and your colleagues to explain how you promote British values in your school. The articles in this series are a great way to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about. And more importantly, they’re the perfect way to introduce the children in your care to the four core pillars of British values:

We’ve already run the first two articles in this series, on democracy and rule of law, and now we’re turning our attention to the third of these core themes – ‘individual liberty and freedom for all’. The notes in this article aim to explain why it is important for children to be taught these principles from an early age and suggests activities and discussion starters to support you in implementing its teaching into your daily routines.

British values

The DfE has advised that ‘British values and principles’ are already embedded in the Primary curriculum. They have also issued guidance notes relating to how teachers can implement this policy.

Ofsted have suggested that having the odd cultural artefact, poster or books containing subliminal messages will not be sufficient evidence to prove you are teaching the values. They will assess your setting’s effectiveness in teaching this subject through children’s SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural) development, the curriculum and school leadership. There have been references indicating that education and childcare settings could be at risk of being downgraded or losing their funding if they cannot show Ofsted inspectors that they are implementing this new legislation…so how can you ‘prove it’?

Let’s take a look at this in relation to the ‘individual freedom and liberty’ strand of British values.


Individual liberty and freedom for all

Children are born with huge potential to learn and develop. However, it requires adults to ensure they are providing the right opportunities for them to thrive. The environment needs to support children’s needs to promote good cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills. A solid foundation in the Early Years will begin to give them the confidence and resilience needed to face the daily challenges that lay ahead. You can develop children’s ‘Individual liberty and freedom’ by combining the strategies used to promote the Early Years ‘characteristics of effective learning’...

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