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British Values

Promoting British Values at Thornhill Community Academy

In accordance with The Department for Education guidance we aim to actively promote British Values at Thornhill Community Academy to ensure our students leave us prepared for life in modern Britain. Students are encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance and understand that while different people may hold different views about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, all people living in England are subject to its law.

The Department for Education states that there is a need:

“To create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”.

We agree with the Department for Education’s five-part definition of British values:

• democracy
• the rule of law
• individual liberty
• mutual respect
• tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.

At the academy, students will encounter these principles throughout everyday school life. Our promotion of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) understanding has been described by Ofsted as being, “good and prepares them well for life in modern Britain.”

The SMSC curriculum is mapped in detail across the whole school. Listed below are some examples of how we promote SMSC and British Values in our school community:


Student voice is a significant aspect of life at the academy. Our student elected school council plays a strong role in our school. Members are elected by their class peers and are involved in making the academy a better place to learn. Students have input in regards to what and how they learn, day to day aspects of academy life and extra-curricular activities. The head boy and girl, their deputies and prefects have all been elected by students in year’s 10 and 11.

Student questionnaires and interviews are also conducted throughout the year. We know that the formation of the school council and the active participation of our students 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 our students 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.

Students are taught the rules and expectations of the school which are highlighted by the student code of conduct and student expectations.  Students are taught the value and the reasons behind laws that govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.  Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service reinforce this message.

Individual liberty

At Thornhill Community Academy, students are actively encouraged to make independent choices, with the knowledge that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment. Staff at Thornhill Community Academy educate and provide boundaries for students to make informed choices, through a safe environment and an empowering education. 

Students are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised on how to exercise these safely, for example through online-safety and Study Skills sessions.

Thornhill Community Academy has a robust anti-bullying culture and has in place a comprehensive Behaviour for Learning Policy.

Students at the academy are members of one of four houses; Austen, Bronte, Dickens or Shakespeare. The house system allows every student and member of staff to feel a sense of belonging and by being a member of the house family, students and staff are encouraged to show team spirit. The choices which students make in terms of learning and conduct directly contribute to the success of their house via house points.

Mutual respect

Mutual respect is at the core of our school life. Students learn to treat each other and staff with great respect. Our TOGETHER values of Trust, Openness, Generosity, Equality, Tolerance, Humility, Emotional intelligence and Resilience provide a framework for this. Students learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and those of others.  All members of the school community treat each other with respect and this is reiterated through its teaching and learning environment. 

Mutual respect is embraced throughout the curriculum by providing the opportunity for students to express their views in a safe environment, in particular through the SMSC programme. Thornhill Community Academy has successfully achieved a Gold Standard Cultural Diversity Quality Standard (CDQS) award which demonstrates our commitment to mutual respect, tolerance and understanding of all.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

Tolerance is a core value of our Academy TOGETHER values. This is achieved though equipping students with the ability to understand their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving students the opportunities to experience diversity within the school community.  Students are actively encouraged to share their faith and beliefs within the school and celebrate festivities throughout the calendar year.  The SMSC curriculum, which is compulsory for all students up to the end of KS4, provides a broad and balanced education on a range of faiths, religions and cultures. 

Through our curriculum and the routines of our daily school life, we strive to demonstrate tolerance and help our students to become knowledgeable and understanding citizens who can build a better Britain for the future.