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British Values at Poynton High School

Fundamental British Values at Poynton High School

We are proud of the work we do as a school to promote fundamental British values.  As a school we promote respect for people of all cultures, lifestyles and of all faiths and none.  We actively celebrate diversity.  Within the school and the wider community we work to prepare young people positively for life in modern Britain.

Fundamental British Values include:

  • democracy
  • the rule of law
  • individual liberty
  • mutual respect
  • tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.  We are an inclusive school and aim to go beyond tolerance to celebrate different faiths and beliefs.  These are our fundamental values.

Our students will encounter these principles throughout everyday school life, both in and out of lessons. 


Student Voice

This is used widely at our school. Members of the Strategic Leadership Team meet ‘Talk and Toast’ focus groups regularly from all years.  We have Year Councils elected by the students and appointed Leadership Groups in main school and a Head Student Group in the Sixth Form.  Each month at the Leadership Team meeting we discuss the student views from these groups.  Student questionnaires and Focus Groups are also used in the Quality Improvement Team Visit programmes.  During the pandemic we moved to much greater use of google forms for obtaining the views of students and to gauge their access to technology and will continue with this.

Recently we are particularly proud of the way students contributed to the development of the Educate-Challenge-Empower-Charter and to the staff training on this on INSET day in September 2021.   

The Curriculum

A wide range of subjects promote democracy and democratic values.  We have retained a three year KS3 to ensure that all students experience study of the Humanities, a language and the arts subjects.  All students have to study a language or a Humanities subject at KS4.  Examples of relevant topics include:

History – students study the development of democracy in KS3 with lessons on the struggle for power between the crown and parliament and the campaign for the right to vote in Britain.  In Year 9, students study democracy and dictatorship in the 20th century and also study terrorism in the modern world. At GCSE students study the civil rights campaign in the US and the Magna Carta in England.  A level students study Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union as a case study

  • Religious Studies – in KS4 all students study RS and this includes units on Crime and Punishment, Human Rights and Social Justice, Peace and Conflict. At KS3 RS, students look at topics such as Religion and the community.
  • MFL - at A level students study young people's engagement in politics
  • English - students frequently engage with issues relating to democracy. For example, all students study and understand ideas of leadership through Shakespeare’s Richard III in Year 8. This in turn leads to a deeper engagement with those ideas in Year 10 when they study Macbeth. Those who go on to study A Level Literature will build on this knowledge when they study Othello.
  • Key Stage 4 Student Development sessions include a unit on politics, including lessons on extremism and preventing extremism
  • Citizenship Day for Year 12
  • Year 8 Student Development Day on elections and running a local election 

Extra-curricular activities

Mock Elections and UK Youth Parliament Election

Talks from Members of Parliament and peers (William Wragg and Andrew Stephenson who are both former students have spoken as has our local MP, David Rutley.  We were also pleased to invite Lord Goddard in to talk about his work in the House of Lords)

Debating Society organised by Sixth Form students

Student leadership through the House System and Prefects.  We have Student Leaders who speak at parental events.

Parliament visit


The Rule of Law

The rule of law is important in the context of school and the wider community, locally, nationally and globally. 

The Curriculum

History –  At KS3 students learn about the rule of law by studying the legal system during the Industrial period and are able to consider the differences between modern day punishments and those of our ancestors.  In KS4, law and order in the American West is an important case study.  Students have a chance to understand the contrast between law in a democratic society and the arbitrary systems in dictatorships through historical examples.

  • RS – Crime and Punishment in Year 10 as well as the topic of people who have changed the world in Year 8, where students look at the evolution of law due to individuals such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.
  • English - crime and punishment and the relationships between the individual and the state are core to many texts in English. For instance, Year 8 students study a unit on crime writing, which includes elements of local history when they read about the Manchester Scuttlers. Later on, texts such as J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls directly address questions of responsibility.
  • Business and Enterprise students learn about UK Employment Laws, Consumer Laws and Health and Safety Law.  They look at how laws have been designed to protect the individual against big business. They also learn about tax laws and minimum wage. In addition they look at advertising standards and the laws involved when presenting information to consumers. As well as the law, students also develop an understanding of developing ethical standards within the UK and how this affects the behaviour of businesses.

In KS5, Business and Economics students develop this understanding further and learn about data protection, competition regulation, intellectual property and taxation, comparing these to other countries. Students look at the implications of belonging to trading blocs such as the EU and the positive and negative impacts of joining and leaving such arrangements. 

Student Development Days – these are very well supported by Cheshire Constabulary with sessions on personal and online safety, drugs and driving safety.  Both Year 7 and 9 have days on law and order

Individual Liberty

We invest a great deal of time in creating a positive culture in our school, so that children are in a safe environment where choices and freedoms are encouraged.

Students learn about individual liberty and the ideas of rights and responsibilities through assemblies, lessons and through the behaviour system.  It is also shown in practice through our gender neutral uniform policy.

The Curriculum

History – students study the struggle for liberty in the past.  At KS3, these include the working man's right to vote, women’s right to vote and the freedom of peoples within the British Empire.  At GCSE, students study the African American civil rights movement.

  • English - individual liberty and rights – and the lack thereof – are frequently explored in English. One such example is in Year 9, where students study a unit on ‘unheard voices’ which looks explicitly at groups who have been historically marginalised. This interacts with the History curriculum, where they concurrently study civil rights. Students are encouraged to engage with issues on an individual level through speechwriting on issues of their own choice. This builds towards Year 10, where they complete more formal speaking and listening activities on a similar topic.

  • RS – Religion and Equality at KS3, looking at how religion can be used as a vehicle for liberation and expression of self-identity for in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mutual respect

Mutual respect is at the core of our school life. Students learn to treat each other and staff with great respect. This is evident in lessons and outside.   It is also seen in the very positive relationships that exist between students and staff.  The House system which promotes healthy competition between Houses and co-operation with other students also reinforces these good relationships.

We also mark events, such as the Black History Month and the Holocaust Memorial Day. 

Our Educate-Challenge-Empower Charter and the systematic logging of any incidents of breaches of the Charter are important new developments in 2021.

Students are also encouraged to volunteer in the school and outside. 

  • In-class support
  • House Captains
  • Buddy Reading
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award at Bronze, Silver and Gold Award levels
  • National Citizen Service
  • Sports Days at primary schools
  • Work experience for Year 12
  • Open evening tours
  • Year 8 and 9 ‘SatNavs’ guiding Year 7

Sponsored walk and other charity activities.  Our students raised money for a range of charities and our Christmas Food Bank Appeal has been a great success in every year since 2017.

  • The Pride Youth Network also runs assemblies each year on the topics of Black History Month and LGBT+ History Month to encourage that we treat each other with mutual respect.

Inclusion and Celebration of those of different faiths and beliefs

The Curriculum

At Poynton High School we provide a broad and balanced curriculum, delivered by skilled professionals, so that our students are enriched, understand and become inclusive of difference and diversity and also to ensure that they thrive, feel valued and are encouraged to question and understand the wider world in which we live.  Through celebration of diversity we aim that all feel welcomed and included regardless of their identity and situation

  • Religious Studies is a compulsory part of the curriculum and students study six world religions at Key Stage 3, as well as including a key focus on Religion and Equality and Religion and the Community in Year 7.  From September 2015 all students in Key Stage 4 have studied full course GCSE Religious Studies.  This enables students to have a much greater understanding of faith and gives the opportunity for a wide range of issues to be discussed.  At GCSE, units include Relationships and Families, Human Rights and Social Justice, Religion and Life, Peace and Conflict
  • History and Geography have six hours a fortnight in KS3.These subjects broaden the horizons of our students and are very popular at GCSE and A level.  In KS3, students in History study migration to the UK in the 19th and 20th centuries, political extremism in the 20th century and terrorism in the modern world.  At GCSE, students study the civil rights movement in the USA.  In Geography, students study units on Africa: Continent of Contrasts, Battle of the Superpowers and Changing Populations in the 21st Century in KS3.  In KS4, students study Urban Issues and Challenges and the Changing Economic World.  
  • Modern Foreign Languages provide real opportunities to engage with the wider world. Students study one of our three languages at KS3 and many continue to GCSE.  Through the celebration of the International Day of Languages and participation in our long-running exchanges students are encouraged to celebrate diversity.  In GCSE one of the topics is customs, festivals and traditions from different countries
  • English promotes discussion and debate and all our students study both English Literature and Language to GCSE
  • Performing Arts subjects play an important part in promoting a questioning approach and an understanding of the wider world.  All students study Drama and Music in Key Stage 3
  • The Student Development Days cover a range of issues that broaden students’ minds and enable them to challenge prejudice
    • Diversity (Years 7 and 8)
    • Peace Day (Sixth Form)
  • Key Stage 4 Student Development lessons include a unit on politics, including lessons on extremism and preventing extremism.

Extra-curricular activities

Beyond the classroom students also engage in a wide range of activities that broaden their horizons and encourage them to respect diversity.  Much of this is through our successful House System.  Examples that are particularly relevant to building British Values are:

  • Play in a Week.  The Plays in a Week always focus on challenging themes that require Year 8 students to think.  Examples include Private Peaceful, which looks at the issue of conscientious objectors in World War I, and Animal Farm which explores issues of democracy and equality. Most recently Durrenmatt’s The Visit challenged our students to look at the values of justice and revenge and the power of money and its relationship with morality.
  • Exchanges and study visits to France, Germany and Spain
  • The Battlefields Trip (History), visits to Iceland and Italy in Geography
  • Camps International expedition to Ecuador in 2019, although unfortunately the 2021 expedition to Tanzania did not take place.
  • Auschwitz Visit and Holocaust Assembly.  In 2018 students were invited to attend Parliament as part of this work.  The last visit talk place in 2019, although our involvement has continued in a virtual way.
  • Student leadership opportunities through the House system, prefects and subject leadership
  • We are a gold level best practice Educate and Celebrate school as part of our LGBT+ equality promotion strategy to ensure that we celebrate the diversity of our school community. This has led to the creation of our Pride Youth Network, our group of students that works to ensure all staff, students, governors and visitors at PHS are treated equally and fairly. This work has spread beyond the walls of the school and has resulted in the Pride Youth Network editing policy documents for groups such as the Cheshire East SCiES team and being asked for feedback and support with the Cheshire East website. All these endeavours have modelled the school voice on promoting inclusion and supporting all individuals in line with the Equality Act of 2010
  • Christian Union led by Sixth Form students
  • Christmas Assembly.  We are pleased to invite the local vicar and the local Methodist minister to our celebration.

Poynton High School & Performing Arts College

Yew Tree Lane, Poynton, Cheshire SK12 1PU

01625 871 811