Academic experts work for years to discover the rules that govern how the world behaves: the formula that makes things work out, every time. At Bradford Academy, we’re experts in our field of education – and we’ve developed a formula that we know gives every one of our diverse mix of children the skills, confidence and support they need to succeed.
The key ingredients at the heart of the formula are three words: known, valued and understood. We apply these three words to each one of our students, by striving to know them as people with their unique combination of skills, desires and quirks; by working to understand how these can be applied to give each learner their greatest possible start in life; and by showing them every day that we value what they bring to the world – and that they should value it too.
Faith is another vital ingredient in the formula. Together with our sponsor the Diocese of Bradford, we aim to promote personal faith as a dynamic, relevant force in our students’ lives. We welcome students of all faiths and none, because we see a person’s choice of faith as part of the way they express themselves – the guiding hand that helps them distinguish between what is right and wrong. But there’s one faith we all share: the faith that one day we’ll be part of a society that lives and works together in mutual harmony.
Our promotion of British values at Bradford Academy
The government set out their definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. These were reinforced in September 2014. These regulations will sit alongside the requirements of the Equalities Act, which also applies to all types of school.
All schools are expected to focus on, and be able to show, how work with students is effective in embedding fundamental British values. This is an agenda that we take very seriously at Bradford Academy.
Promoting British values at Bradford Academy
We agree with the Department for Education’s five-part definition of British values:
- Democracy • The rule of law • Individual liberty • Mutual respect • Tolerance (and in our opinion, the celebration) of those of different faiths and beliefs
At the academy students encounter these principles throughout everyday school life and our promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding has been described by Ofsted as being, “outstanding” (“…activities contribute well to students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development which is outstanding” – Ofsted 2013)
The curriculum is mapped in detail across the whole school and is available here . Listed below are some examples of how we promote these values in our school community:
Student voice is a fundamental principle at the academy. Our elected positions of student leadership play a strong role in different areas of school life. Examples include: Home Team Representatives and House Captains, who are elected by their peers and are involved in making the academy a better place to learn; the Student Senior Leadership Team (SSLT) who shadow the work of our staff Senior Leadership Team in their work and who contribute to decision making across Bradford Academy. As a consequence, student voice is consistently promoted and students have many opportunities to shape what and how they learn, and the environment in which this happens. The Academy Value Contract (AVC), for example, was drafted by the student body and is a prominent feature at the heart of the academy, being displayed and celebrated in the Forum.
Student questionnaires and interviews on a wide variety of issues are also conducted throughout the year. We are confident that the formation of leadership opportunities for learners at Bradford Academy and the active participation of our students in all areas of school life will sow the seeds for a more sophisticated understanding of democracy in the future.
The Rule of Law
Our students will encounter rules and laws throughout their entire lives. We want them to understand that whether these laws govern the class, the school, the neighbourhood or the country, they are set for good reasons and must be adhered to.
This understanding of the importance of rules is consistently reinforced through assemblies and our curriculum. The involvement of our students in the creation and review of the AVC helps them to understand the reasons behind the guidelines and the consequences faced if they are broken. Classroom rules are also often negotiated and agreed upon by the members of the group before they are adopted.
Throughout the year, work undertaken by local agencies, including the police, Emerge, Step2 and many more, helps students at Bradford Academy to evaluate and understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens within their community. We believe that clear explanations and real life stories emphasise the importance of the rule of law for our students.
At Bradford Academy, 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. In lessons, learning tasks are often left for the child to decide upon. We encourage children to choose the task that will challenge them, giving them more freedom to determine their own learning. The use of Bloom’s solo taxonomy in a number of subject areas is one example of how this is done. We offer a range of clubs at Bradford Academy which students have the freedom to choose from, based on their interests. In many areas around school, including within our Home Team programme and as part of work done with outside agencies such as ‘Emerge’ and ‘Step2’, we educate children on their rights, responsibilities and personal freedoms, as well as supporting them in recognising how to exercise these freedoms safely. At Bradford Academy we believe that valuing choice and freedom in daily school life will foster a value for individual liberty as the students embark upon their adult lives.
Mutual respect is at the core of our school life. Students learn to treat each other and staff with great respect. This is evident when walking around the Academy and in the classrooms. Our Academy motto is “Every Learner Known, Valued and Understood”. This refers to all members of our community, whatever their age and reflects on our belief in ‘life-long learning’. The commitment to knowing, valuing and understanding everyone at Bradford Academy is seen throughout the various relationships built between students and staff.
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Bradford Academy itself is a diverse community which fully represents the multicultural nature of modern Britain. At Bradford Academy we offer a culturally rich and diverse curriculum in which all major religions are studied and respected. We strongly believe that tolerance is gained through knowledge and understanding. Through our curriculum and the routines of our daily school life, we strive to demonstrate tolerance and help children to become knowledgeable and understanding citizens who can build a better Britain for the future. This is reflected, for example, in the subject matter of our ‘Thought for the Week’, which draws on wisdom and guidance from the full spectrum of belief systems.