The website for Witnesham Primary can be found here.
Ethos & Values
Our ethos is to provide a high quality primary education in a caring and stimulating environment, offering equal opportunities to all and enabling the children to realise their full potential.
We aim to provide a wide, balanced curriculum to which all pupils have equal access, and that will stimulate the intellectual, spiritual, ethical and physical development of each pupil from entry aged 4 plus until transfer at age 11.
The child’s first year in school marks the second phase of the Foundation Stage of Learning. This has its emphasis on the development of the whole child through play and many other activities. We want to ensure that each child continues to grow in self-knowledge and self-esteem. The ability to share, to co-operate and to develop a respect for others will lead them to begin to understand some of the factors affecting their lives. Our aim is to provide a secure environment in which the child can develop confidence, grow and learn.
The skills that we seek to develop apply to all areas of the curriculum rather than individual subjects. For example, we help pupils to develop lively, enquiring minds with the ability to question situations. We help them to make sense of the world in which we live and to give an understanding of the inter-dependence of people. Of particular importance is the need for pupils to acquire the whole range of skills that they will need for the adult world, which we seek to do throughout the whole curriculum.
We aim to set pupils challenging but realistic goals which will enable them to achieve academic, personal, social and practical success. We encourage pupils to see education as a process of continuing development to which they contribute and which is not restricted to their experiences within school. We seek to provide an atmosphere in which all pupils feel valued and where equal opportunities for all exist.
At all times we seek to develop in our pupils’ self-confidence, the ability to accept responsibility and to gain independence. We have high expectations both in behaviour and social awareness. We seek to develop this in a secure atmosphere.
The Department for Education state that there is a need “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.”
In the 2011 Prevent Strategy, the government set out its definition of British values as being Democracy, The rule of law, Individual liberty, Mutual respect, and Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
The term ‘British values’ might be slightly misleading in that these values are integral to so many countries throughout the world, and they are certainly integral to the long-standing values at both of our schools. Our behaviour policy with school expectations revolve around ‘respect’ as a core value, and discussions and assemblies focus on what respect means and how it manifests itself in our schools.
In literacy many books used as stimulus focus on tolerance, mutual respect and democracy. Lessons may look at how these themes are presented and how characters embody these values. Poetry, songs and languages from other cultures may also be examined.
In PSHE and P4C pupils should be able to understand their personal rights and freedoms and they should be advised on how to exercise these safely. Pupils will have the opportunity to learn about different models of democracy and take part in votes, pupil questionnaires and pupil councils. Visits from authorities such as the police reinforce the importance of the rule of law. Both schools have visited the Houses of Parliament, the seat of out democracy. Topics such as equal rights, respect for all regardless of ethnicity, religion, race or gender are covered. E-safety is taught and discussed in all year groups.
RE lessons and assemblies reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. We seek to actively promote diversity through celebrations of different faiths and cultures.
In Humanities, pupils analyse events in the UK and world history where British values have been challenged such as during the two world wars. We also teach how the significant individuals and historical changes have affected our life in modern Britain today. As part of geography pupils will look at how different cultures live and work throughout the world.
All of our children learn French and look at how the culture and traditions in French speaking countries can differ from life in Britain. Songs and speaking and listening activities are taught at age appropriate levels. Our schools actively promote intercultural understanding through displays and dedicated days where the children learn about different cultures and countries through cooking, dressing up, songs, stories and fact gathering activities.
At both schools there is an expectation that the older pupils take responsibility for the welfare of younger pupils allowing an overall sense of belonging, caring and respect for each other. This is also very evident in the relationships between pupils and staff members.
As well as actively promoting British values, the opposite also applies – we would actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to British values, including ‘extremist’ views.