At Wednesfield High Specialist Engineering Academy, we are committed to the promotion of the five fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of other faiths and beliefs. At the heart of these values lie good relationships in which teachers and students work together towards common goals. At Wednesfield High, these values are both integral and reinforced regularly in the following ways:
Students have the opportunity to contribute more widely to academy life through our “Student Voice”. Every tutor group is given the opportunity to elect a member to the body whereby students meet with senior leaders to discuss their learning and ideas.
Classrooms are run along democratic principles. Students are given equal opportunities to contribute orally. No one individual is allowed to dominate and to steal time from the majority. Rules are explained and breaches of those rules are challenged by staff. The rationale for that challenge is usually based on the argument that poor behaviour from one person has an impact on everyone. It is therefore unfair.
There are also many opportunities to learn about democracy within the curriculum. For example students study the operation of parliament and democratic processes citizenship, the role of literary texts in English, such as “An Inspector Calls” in addressing democracy and justice, and in history students examine why women won the vote.
In Year 7 students learn democracy, about how the country and local areas run, and try to be a leader of a fictitious county or town. Students try to spot problems and then come up with plans to overcome these issues. Then they take part in an election to be leader of that town. In Year 8 our students investigate how the local council runs. Students get to help people by directing them to the correct department, and give advice to sort out problems. In year 9 we learn about the government, cabinet departments and organise their own political party. In Yr10 and 11 Citizenship students learn extensive coverage of democracy.
The Rule of Law
At Wednesfield High we promote the importance of the rule of law. Students see that this is important through our day to day work. Accountability is stressed to all stakeholders including staff (teacher’s standards and performance management), students (“non-negotiables” as set out in the academy’s behaviour policy) and Governors.
Through the sixth form elective programme, students have the opportunity to take part in a student leader election, gaining an insight into the workings of the democratic system of election.
Opportunities to learn about the rule of law are built onto the curriculum. For example, in business studies students examine how laws are made and the stages they pass through to become an Act of Parliament, in history they look at law and order and in RE students learn about crime and punishment.
Through citizenship students take part in a mock trial. In years 8 and 9 Students could be the judge or as part of a jury. Civil laws are looked at in year 9 and students are a solicitor and review a civil case to advise their client.
As an academy we educate and provide boundaries for students to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment. Students are actively encouraged to make appropriate choices.
As students move through the academy, privileges are gained such as, in year 12 and 13 students have their own designated area to study and do not have to wear an academy uniform (smart office wear should be worn) and sixth form are allowed to leave the site at times such as break and lunch. For all students there are elements of choice in the canteen, within healthy boundaries. Students are offered guided autonomy over choices regarding future pathways.
Opportunities that exist within the curriculum include, for example, learning about human rights in geography and precious liberties of citizens, and rights and responsibilities in business studies.
In year 8 students study about discrimination, human rights and the rights of the child.
Our academy ethos is “Changing Lives, Shaping Futures” Through this we strive to foster strong working relationships between staff and students, between colleagues and between staff and parents. A positive understanding of differences and willingness to listen to the views of others is embedded in our daily practices.
Behaviour Policies promote good behaviour and challenge poor behaviour so that all students respect others and give them the opportunity to succeed. We take seriously our duty to prevent victimisation of any individual and we carefully analyse any incidents where racist, homophobic or sexist actions could hurt others.
Tolerance of Other Faiths and Beliefs
At Wednesfield High we endeavour to ensure that we are enhancing students’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society by offering them many and varied opportunities for them to experience this first hand. There are many visits, trips and opportunities for students to learn all about other faiths, creeds and cultures not just in this country but around the world. We also have links through our creativity area with an inner city multicultural school.
Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been supported by learning in RE and PHSE. The RE curriculum provides the opportunity for students to learn about a variety of different faiths including, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism and Hinduism.
In summary, we prepare our students for life in a complex, contradictory and chaotic modern Britain. Our data illustrates that the vast majority of our students go on to take part fully as civilised members of society who experience a range of roles throughout their lives. We wish our students to become good employees, caring partners and parents, active citizens and engaged friends and we work hard in school to ensure that these core values are promoted for all. The school’s promotion of these core values ensures a steady progression of attitudes and qualities.