What are the British Values in Schools?

What are the British Values in Schools?


Promoting British Values has become increasingly important since November 2014. Now, all childcare providers must demonstrate how they’re ‘actively promoting’ the values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.

According to the guidance from the Department for Education, the fundamental British Values that schools should promote are:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect for
  • Tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

Ofsted wants to see a school ethos and climate that promotes British Values at every level. Inspectors will assess British Values through SMSC, the curriculum and school leadership.

Ofsted now pays a lot of attention to SMSC when deciding whether a school is ‘Outstanding’, ‘Inadequate’ or somewhere in between. Schools often ask questions regarding British Values during interviews.


What must be taught?

The advice is basically the same for maintained schools (‘state’ schools) and independent schools (private schools, academies and free schools):

  • Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem, and self-confidence
  • Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal laws of England
  • Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely
  • Enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England
  • Further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures
  • Encourage respect for other people
  • Encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.


The only difference for independent schools is the requirement regarding the Equality Act’s protected characteristics:

  • Encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.


What are pupils expected to learn?

Examples of the understanding and knowledge pupils are expected to learn include:

  • An understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
  • An understanding that the freedom to hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law
  • An acceptance that people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
  • An understanding of the importance of identifying and combatting discrimination


Examples of actions schools can take to promote British Values are to:

  • Include in suitable parts of the curriculum – as appropriate for the age of pupils – material on the strengths, advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and how democracy and the law work in Britain, in contrast to other forms of government in other countries
  • Ensure all pupils within the school have a voice that is listened to, and demonstrate how democracy works by actively promoting democratic processes such as a school council whose members are voted for by the pupils
  • Use opportunities such as general or local elections to hold mock elections to promote fundamental British Values and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view
  • Consider the role of extra-curricular activity, including any run directly by pupils, in promoting fundamental British Values TES provides some good resources and teaching materials to aid the delivery of British


Values in classes. https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/blog/best-reviewed-british-values-resources