British Values
British Values at The St Leonards Academy

The St Leonards Academy is dedicated to serving the local community by promoting the fundamental rights and values that characterise British society. We recognise the vital role that we have in safeguarding our young people from those that might wish to intimidate, radicalise or unduly influence them and the importance of our mission to equip students with the qualifications and skills necessary to live as responsible citizens of an increasingly globalised society.

We strive to ensure that extreme political views are not promoted during the teaching of any subject in the academy and where political views are explored, reasonable steps are taken to present a balanced presentation of opposing points of view.

We value freedom of speech highly and all students know that their first point of contact is their tutor, who will champion their view to the rest of the academy. We also regularly use surveys, focus group interviews and meetings with members of the student parliament to collect the opinions of students on the decisions that affect them However, this is not an unqualified right and speech that is intended to exploit the vulnerable or leads to violence or harm to others is not tolerated.

British values are promoted both through the curriculum and through extra-curricular activities such as assemblies, tutor time discussions, visiting speakers, workshop providers etc. In particular, all students in years 7 and 8 have lessons in ‘Lifelong Learning’ which provide them with the time and structures necessary to explore sensitive and controversial issues and equips them with the knowledge and skills to safely navigate difficult or dangerous situations.

The Academy works with UNICEF to promote the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has been awarded a ‘recognition of commitment’ for this work.

Students and staff at the Academy working together to promote the Universal Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Democracy

    The Academy is committed to supporting the democratic process and encouraging all students to participate in it. Students will leave us with a good understanding of how they can influence decision making through the democratic process.

    Examples from within the curriculum
    • All KS3 students learn about the democratic structures and parties of the UK during a Lifelong Learning unit on democracy.
    • All KS3 students get the opportunity to compare and contrast totalitarian and democratic societies in history and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
    • Studying texts such as Julius Caesar and Animal Farm in English Literature helps students to understand the history and significance of democracy.
    • Students who opt for GCSE Sociology will get to explore these issues in more depth, particularly during the unit on Power.
    Examples from outside of the curriculum
    • All students can apply to become members of the student parliament (MSPs) and are then democratically elected to represent their tutor group. The Parliament meets termly, while individual working parties meet fortnightly. The student parliament recently influenced whole academy decisions about uniform, food offered at the canteen, enrichment activities and the academy’s anti-bullying strategy.
    • Mock elections are held to coincide with local and national elections.
    • MSPs trip to the Houses of Parliament for a tour and debating workshop.
    • Our ‘Learning partners’ programme allows students to work together with teachers to plan lessons and units of work.
    Former Co-President of the Student Parliament, Millie Crosby, supervises a ballot box during the Academy’s mock elections in May 2015.
  • The Rule of Law

    We strongly believe that we have a duty to educate our students in the difference between right and wrong and to help them to apply this understanding to decision making in their own lives. We also help our young adults to understand and respect the law and the public services and institutions that uphold it.

    Examples from within the curriculum
    • All students take a Lifelong Learning unit on ‘rights and responsibilities’ where they learn about the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child
    • All students take an introductory sociology unit on ‘crime and deviance’ in year 9 where they learn about the role of the justice system, and both the causes and effects of criminal behaviour.
    • All students regularly learn about drug use and its consequences during PSCHE and Science lessons.
    • During science lessons, all students are given the opportunity to learn about and discuss controversial issues such as those around human cloning, drugs and the use of animals for medical research
    • In art, a unit on graffiti art enables students to explore the relationship between art, the law and morality
    • Students who opt for GCSE Sociology or GCSE Philosophy and Ethics will study and debate many of these topics in more depth.
    Examples from outside of the curriculum
    • We have an effective ‘BTA’ (Behaviour To Achieve) system that encourages students to understand the impact that their behaviour and choices has on other people and that there are consequences for certain types of behaviour.
    • The Academy maintains close links with the local police force.
    • We work closely with ‘TYS’ (Targeted Youth Support) to identify and support any of our young people who are at risk of offending.
    • Our assembly and tutor time programme often includes presentation and discussion of controversial topics around legal issues, such as the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter.
    TSLA Students discuss Orgreave with the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd
  • Individual liberty

    At the heart of our Academy’s ethos lies the idea of ‘Pride Through Success’. This vein runs through every aspect of Academy life and empowers students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence.

    Examples from within the curriculum
    • In Lifelong Learning, students learn how the law protects the freedom of the press
    • Units on the Holocaust and the US civil rights movement studied in History help students to understand the importance of individual liberty
    • Our innovative ‘Maths Mastery’ curriculum at KS3 gives students the time and support necessary to really master the key skills and concepts that lay the foundation for future success
    • In English students develop their self-esteem and self-confidence during a unit on ‘Leadership’.
    Examples from outside of the curriculum
    • Weekly reviews of progress both in academic subjects and a suite of ‘employability skills’ such as teamwork, presentation skills and citizenship take place between students and their tutors as part of our ‘Expert Learner Programme’.
    • Our ‘Passport to Success’ programme recognises and rewards success. Students can graduate from the year at levels of Distinction/Merit/Pass depending on the level of their achievements and character development throughout the year.
    • This year will see the launch of our academy newspaper, written and edited entirely by students.
    • We have a large, committed student support team who work with individual students and outside agencies to break down barriers to learning including using provision such as group counselling sessions, bespoke timetables and off-site activities.
    • We offer an impressive range of extension and enrichment activities, from the Duke of Edinburgh Award to a computer coding club,
    Emma Tucker, Deputy Editor of The Times newspaper, runs a newsroom workshop with the Student Parliament and the academy newspaper editorial team.
  • Mutual Respect

    Respect is one of our core ‘PRIDE’ values of Potential, Respect, Innovation, Determination and Excellence. The Academy insists on respect for others and understands the pivotal importance of identifying and combating discrimination.

    Examples from within the curriculum
    • Pupils learn about the importance of respecting diversity and combating discrimination in units on anti-bullying, diversity and respect during Lifelong Learning lessons where they are given the opportunity to learn about and discuss controversial topics such as the Muhammad cartoon controversy and the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
    • History lessons on the transatlantic slave trade, the US Civil Rights movement and Empire enable students to gain an appreciation for the importance of mutual respect in modern society.
    Examples from outside of the curriculum
    • Our programme of ‘PRIDE’ assemblies and tutor time discussion enable all students to understand the importance of mutual respect and the damage that prejudice and discrimination can do.
    • The Academy’s dedicated ‘Hawking Centre’ supports a large number of special needs students to achieve academic success in a mainstream setting.
    • This year we are launching our bid to become recognised as a ‘Rights Respecting School’ which will involve the promotion of the Convention of the Rights of the Child to all members of the Academy community.
    • Our rigorous safeguarding policy ensures that all students and staff know to report incidences of discrimination.
    Students attend to the garden in the grounds of the Hawking centre.
  • Tolerance

    All of our young people will leave the Academy with the ability to offer reasoned views on moral and ethical issues and with an appreciation of and respect for different cultures, faiths and beliefs.

    Examples from within the curriculum
    • Students investigate the difference between religious and scientific views of the world in science lessons, with a particular focus on the origins of the universe, blood and organ donation, cloning and stem cell research.
    • As part of the year 9 humanities curriculum, all students take part in a short ‘REP’ (Religion, Ethics and Philosophy) course where they learn about Christian, Islamic and other views on topics such as God, abortion, war and capital punishment.
    • Students who opt for GCSE Philosophy and Ethics will explore all of these topics in much greater depth.
    • In Art and Resistant Materials, students gain an appreciation of other cultures through the study of cultural products such as paintings, masks, jewellery and clothing from around the world.
    • In KS3 Geography, pupils learn about the physical and human geography of Brazil and China and enables students to discuss cultural differences and similarities.
    • An English literature unit entitled ‘Literature of the other’ includes texts such as ‘Mr Pip’ and ‘Pidgeon English’, which promote tolerance and harmony through an appreciation of other cultures.
    • All students study at least one modern foreign language and this helps them to gain a greater appreciation of European culture.
    Examples from outside of the curriculum
    • Our Safeguarding lead, Linda Harding, has completed PREVENT awareness training.
    • As part of our safeguarding procedures, all staff have been made aware of their duties under the counter-terrorism and security act of 2015 and have completed the online ‘Channel General Awareness module’. They know to refer to the East Sussex Prevent Strategy if they suspect a young person may be vulnerable to extremism (defined as vocal or active opposition to the fundamental British values) or radicalisation.
    • All members of staff have completed the online ‘Channel’ awareness programme to support them with identifying factors that make young people vulnerable to radicalisation.
    • The schools ‘Acceptable Use’ policy for staff and pupils prohibits access to materials relating to violent extremism.
    • Internet filtering systems (such as Impero software) monitor and block students’ access to unsuitable material, including extremist websites. Key word monitoring is flagged up through the academy’s safeguarding system and follows closely the guidelines of the counter-terrorism act of 2015. E-safety and anti-grooming is an integral part of our academy’s ICT and PSCHE curriculum.
    • Our assembly and tutor time programme introduces important British values and gives students the time to discuss controversial issues.
    Students raising awareness of and collecting food national for, the ‘Trusell Trust’, a natonal charity with the bold aim of eliminating hunger and poverty throughout the UK.