Schools explore meaning of British values

By Gabriella Smith, Harriet McCoombe & Olivia Pearce

Just what does it mean to be British? This was the question posed to pupils from 38 Catholic secondary schools and sixth-form colleges when they came together in St Helens on 30 June to consider what British values really are.

Year 10–12 students from a range of different cultural and religious backgrounds were present at Langtree Park, the home of St Helens Rugby Football Club, for an event geared at developing teaching and learning resources based on British values to be implemented in schools across the region. The Liverpool Archdiocese Secondary Schools’ Partnership (LASSP) had selected students from its eight local authorities to participate in the Student Voice Conference, all aiming to tackle this complex question and to find an answer. Paul Greenall, director of LASSP and organiser of the event, wanted them to explore what being British meant to them.

The theme of the day was ‘British Culture and Values in the Catholic Secondary School – Students’ perspective’ and this entailed the student delegates taking part in several activities based on a survey which Christ the King Catholic High School’s head of science, Dave Hemsley, had conducted with thousands of pupils across the region.

Tim Warren, Archdiocesan director of education, and James Lancaster, head teacher of Christ the King, were the keynote speakers and they underlined how Catholic values, personal values and British values are all interlinked. As Lord Nash, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, has stated: "We want every school to promote the basic British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs."

For more information on the conference’s aims and mission statement, visit the Liverpool Archdiocese Secondary Schools’ Partnership at www.lassp.co.uk, where you can also learn about upcoming events.