We first started to hear about British values in August 2014 and Ofsted have started inspecting early year’s providers and schools on how well they promote British values. Alongside this new inspection regime, we read in the press that some schools are being shut down because they are failing to effectively prepare children for living in modern Britain and there has been a national outcry at some of the questions Ofsted inspectors are asking older children. At the same time, we as early year’s providers are becoming more aware of the need to ensure that British values are in our planning.
For early year’s providers, teaching British values is about teaching children to be proud to be British and ensuring they are not being radicalised at an early age. Whether you live in a predominantly white, middle class suburb or a multicultural inner city, it is our responsibility to ensure children are safe and healthy, always aspiring to be the best they can possibly be.
We are not required to plan specific ‘lessons’ to teach children British values – they are already embedded in everything we 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/we 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 Britain and British values so we need to address and show evidence of this in our planning.
It is important that we work closely with you, the parents as well – to let you know that we are going to be teaching your children British values as part of our day-to-day curriculum and to let you know that the EYFS requires us to provide you with ideas which you can use at home.
Here are two example of what teaching British values in Happy Turtles looks like:
We 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.
Your local community and 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 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 egg 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.