Vision & Values
Governors and staff will work together tirelessly to encourage and embody the concept of ‘traditional values, forward thinking and bright futures’ for every pupil.
Our vision is for a highly successful educational journey through which each of our pupils can flourish in a safe, happy and stimulating school community from age 3-16. We set and ensure high expectations of ourselves and of others as we strive to teach knowledge and inspire curiosity about the world. We encourage positive attitudes, contribution to community, resilience, creativity, integrity and kindness.
Values & Ethos
Our school values are determined through consultation and discussion, including at parental engagement groups, and we have agreed that the following values encompass those we will strive to embody through all aspects of our work:
These shared values will also underpin our values’ education programme across the school.
The DfE have published guidance on British Values and state that schools ‘have a duty to ‘actively 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.’ Whilst schools have always been asked to respect these values, they ‘must now have a clear strategy for embedding these values and show how their work with pupils has been effective in doing so’ (DfE, 2014)
At Castle Newnham School, we recognise that by living these values the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils can be enhanced and can also support our pupils in their transition to adult life by leaving school fully prepared for life in modern Britain. The British Values are reinforced regularly in our school and in the following ways:
We trust children at Castle Newnham to help us make the decisions that shape our school and make it the way that they want it to be. Children from Year 1 to Year 6 engage with the democratic process to elect representatives onto our School Council annually. Each class elects a school councillor . As a continuation in developing democracy, our School Council then elect a Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. This continues as pupils enter secondary education. In secondary two class representatives are elected from each tutor group and there meet fortnightly for School Council or specific sub committee meetings e.g. the Equality Committee. There are also representatives on the Sports Council and Arts Council.
The children who make up the School Council are an important part of our leadership team and we trust them to ensure that the views of all Castle Newnham children are taken into account. We have a dedicated member of the Senior Leadership Team who is their contact, whom they can speak to regularly. They meet fortnightly to discuss issues raised during Class Councils and to decide how we are going to help to move things forward, often taking thoughts and ideas to a vote. It is the responsibility of each Councillor to ensure that they express both their own views and the views of all the other pupils they represent. These skills are developed in the fortnightly school council sessions.
Each year group within our school also has members on the Eco Committee who are elected as per the School Council process. The Eco committee is an ideal opportunity for our pupils to get more involved in the way Castle Newnham is run and help it to be environmentally friendly.
Frequently, through the year, a variety of members of staff spend time with pupils to hear their thoughts, ideas and opinions on certain subjects. This may be linked with one particular topic such as ‘school lunches’ or have a wider feel. We use the pupils’ comments to inform us about actions we may need to take as a result.
Annually, we encourage representatives from our School Council to attend the Bedford Borough Council ‘Pupil Voice Conference.’ This gives children from our school the opportunity to talk about issues that are pertinent to them about our local area.
We are aware at Castle Newnham that many of our pupils attend uniformed organisations such as Rainbows, Brownies, Cubs, Beavers and Scouts. To promote their importance, we actively encourage children to wear their uniform with pride on ‘Thinking Day’ during February. This is an ideal time for the children to share their voice on what their organisation and its importance in a democratic society.
Curriculum – Our Personal Development programme heavily supports democracy with such topics as ‘rules, rights and responsibilities’ in which children are encouraged to discuss, listen to others’ voices and make decisions. British values are referred to throughout the curriculum and are embedded into our teaching.
Head Pupils – In Year 6 the pupils are offered the opportunity to put themselves forward for head pupil role and this involves an interview from the Senior Leadership Team. In Year 11 pupils have the opportunity to become House Captains.
THE RULE OF LAW
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country and reinforced at Castle Newnham.
From an early age, the pupils at Castle Newnham School are taught about our high expectations; in the classroom, on the playground and in the local community. This is accomplished through age appropriate ‘class rules’ which are on display in every classroom and through regular assemblies. In addition, through discussion (as a whole class, in small groups and on a one to one basis) pupils are given the opportunity to understand the value and reasons behind rules and laws, including those in our own behaviour policy.
We believe that it is important that pupils are taught the reasons behind laws and the consequences if they are broken and apply this to our behaviour system if required. Within our school curriculum, we also provide opportunities for the Fire Service and Police to work alongside our children at school to reinforce this message wherever possible.
Within our school, pupils are actively encouraged to make their own choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment to do so. As a school we feel very proud that we offer numerous opportunities for pupils to exercise their own freedoms, for instance, through choice of participation in a wealthy range of extra curricular activities, via class councils and our Personal Development curriculum.Through our e-safety lessons, children learn how to use the internet securely and safely for individualized learning and work set for each year group. The school promotes Anti-bullying Week each year to encourage awareness of how to prevent bullying and promote a positive and inclusive environment within school and the wider world. Each year there is a different focus to promote individual and collective action to stop bullying.
Mutual respect is at the heart of our values and is also one of our own school values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. Each member of our school community including pupils and staff treat each other with respect and values each other’s contributions.
TOLERANCE OF THOSE WITH DIFFERENT FAITHS AND BELIEFS
Castle Newnham is a diverse school. Throughout our curriculum and school ethos, we celebrate all different faiths and cultures.
Annually we host a multicultural week in which we encourage both children and their carers to share their faiths, languages and different customs with the whole school. This has proven a wonderful opportunity for us to make stronger links in our local community. As a result, lots of local religious group leaders visit our school and talk to pupils about their religion to enhance learning.The contribution of parents of different faiths is seen as a positive way to engage children in learning about the different faiths in our community.The agreed syllabus for Bedford Borough also promotes tolerance of different faiths and beliefs and is followed to plan the RE curriculum.
During our Religious Education lessons, members of each class are encouraged to share their beliefs openly with one another. We also encourage school trips to places of worship as we believe that it is important to give opportunities to experience diversity.
Staff aim to enhance pupils’ understanding and respect for different cultures, faiths and beliefs through a host of cross curricular learning.
- Creative Arts – by considering cultures from around the world through music, art and dance.
- Knowledge & Understanding of the World – through organising special activity weeks such as ‘multicultural week’ where we celebrate and enjoy the differences between other countries and cultures.
- English– where there are opportunities to explore cultures and traditions using a wide range of fiction, non-fiction texts and the internet.
- PSHE, Health and Wellbeing – where discussion is an important tool for promoting mutual tolerance and respect.