Teaching British Values

Ofsted are now inspecting childminders – and all early years providers – on how well we ‘actively promote’ British values. From 1st September 2015, Ofsted introduced 3 new inspection documents:

• The Common Inspection Framework

• Early Years inspection handbook

• Inspecting safeguarding in early years guidance

You will find links to the new inspection documents here

This blog by Sarah Neville (Knutsford Childminding) explains some of the ways you can support children’s learning about British values in an early years provision.

In a school, teaching British values means providing a curriculum which ‘actively promote(s) the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs’. Read more info

For childminders and early years providers, teaching British values will probably encompass 2 different parts of the curriculum:

• Promoting British values as defined by DfE – which are already embedded in our day-to-day work with children

• Teaching children more about the world in which they live and developing their understanding of life in modern Britain.

The intention of this new legislation, linked to the Prevent duty for England and Wales, is that all children including the very young are protected from being radicalised at an early age.

Prevent duty Guidance

There us a further new requirement in the Early Years inspection handbook and Common Inspection Framework to protect children online – we must have security in place on computers, tablets etc to keep children from chat rooms and other places where they might be exposed to radicalisation or extremism.

Whether you live in a predominantly white, middle class suburb or a multicultural inner city, it is your responsibility to ensure children are safeguarded and kept safe and healthy, always aspiring to be the best they can possibly be.

How do we teach British values?

You don’t need to plan specific ‘lessons’ to teach children British values – they should be included in everything you do. Britain has undergone rapid economic and social change in the last few decades and we live in an increasingly diverse society. We need to teach our children that it is possible to live together peacefully, each of them a valuable part of our multicultural world.

Whether you agree with it or not, Ofsted inspectors are required to make a judgement about how well we deliver a curriculum which includes teaching children about British values – and preparing them for life in modern Britain - so we need to address and show evidence of this in our planning. It is important to work closely with parents as well – to let them know that you are going to be teaching their children British values as part of your day-to-day curriculum – and give them some indication of the types of things you will cover - and remind them that the EYFS requires you to provide them with ideas which they can use at home.

So, for example, you might be teaching the children about Valentine’s Day:

• Look at Valentine’s Day cards in the local shops - British values = making links in the local community

• Design your own cards to give to family and friends - British values = valuing family

• Talk about how children across the world will be sending cards to their family and friends - teach children = we live in a multicultural and diverse world

• Let parents know that you are making cards and provide some resources so they can help their child learn more about hearts, flowers, colours etc at home - EYFS = working with parents.

Or you might be on an outing to the local park for a picnic:

• Look at flowers, trees, ducks etc - British values = learn about the world in which we live and be proud of what we see around us

• Pick up litter after the picnic - British values = respect the natural world and teach children to respect the law, learn right from wrong and to have social responsibility

• After the picnic, visit the library for story time - British values = promote a sense of belonging in your local community

Or within your local community some of the children in your provision might be celebrating Diwali at home, so you plan some activities to involve all the children in, for example, making Diwali / Diva lamps. While making the lamps you are:

• Teaching children about light and dark – EYFS - understanding the world

• Talking about the importance of light in different religions eg candles at Christmas, St Lucia’s Day (Sweden) and Hanukah (in the Jewish calendar) - British values = learning about our own and respecting other faiths and beliefs.

Or you plan a session to work through your behaviour goals with the children:

• Each child has their turn to talk about what they think is important – British values = each child has a voice and is listened to; they feel important and that their views will be included

• You talk to the children about appropriate behaviour – British values = learning about right and wrong

• A behaviour goals poster is produced and every child has contributed their ideas – British values = we live in a democracy

All the teaching we deliver must be relevant to and respectful of the individual children’s learning needs – there is little point making Diwali candles with a 1 year old who will probably eat them – but everyone can be involved in making a big flower pictures after an outing and learn more about nature and the natural world (links to the Eyfs Understanding the World – the world and Expressive Arts and Design – using media and materials).

Here are some examples of how British Values are embedded in our day-to-day curriculum:

• We teach children to be kind, helpful and respectful of others;

• We teach children to be part of their local community;

• We plan to celebrate festivals and mark special days from the world around us;

• We teach the children about compromise – that some of us believe one thing… some of us believe something totally different… but we can all play together in the same house (or group setting) and respect each other = British values – teaching about similarities and differences.

• We teach children to work together – we provide them with projects that involve everyone in the provision and we plan group times, where children learn to listen, take turns and value contributions from others. This type of planning is a very important part of British values = teaching about shared values and working together towards a common goal;

• We teach children about the world in which they live – the world on their doorstep and the wider world – through books, posters, planned activities, resources, outings and much more;

• We teach children to listen and respect others…

Here are some ways in which we can teach children about life in modern Britain:

• We teach children about the world around them and use the seasons, weather, special days etc to plan meaningful learning experiences;

• We teach children about Britain, showing them the work of sculptors and artists to inspire creativity, listening to music to promote dance and drama (and listening skills of course).

• We extend teaching, using the library and online sources of information and support them as they learn to respect others by introducing music, dance, art etc from around the world.

What will Ofsted be looking for during inspection?

Foundation Years have provided this guidance about British values.

Promoting democracy – everyone has a voice and is listened to; children’s learning and development files include their comments etc. This is an excellent and thought-provoking blog about global citizenship and democracy from Tracy Seed – More Info

Promoting the rule of law – teaching children right from wrong or including the police in a ‘people who help us’ theme.

Teaching mutual respect and tolerance - ensuring children have the right to say ‘no’ and be respected for their choices; including world religions and festivals in our planning to teach children about the world in which they live; linking children’s learning so they understand they are part of a much wider world; displaying posters and reading books which show world religions and cultures, blended families, disability, equality of opportunity etc as the norm.

Group teaching that promotes PSED – and provides ‘clear guidance on what is right and what is wrong’ – taken from the school inspection handbook

More useful links

Gold members of Childcare.co.uk have access to 2 new Information Guides which will give you more activity ideas linked to ‘actively promoting’ British values in an early years provision:

Teaching British Values

British Values - Quick Reference

More Childminding Guides

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