The legal duty of schools

All schools are required by law to promote the fundamental British values of: 

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

And principles that:

  • enable pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
  • enable pupils to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England
  • encourage pupils 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 in which the school is situated and to society more widely
  • enable pupils 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 pupils to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures
  • encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the 2010 Act
  • encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic process, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England

Protecting pupils from the risk of radicalisation

Promoting British values is one of the ways that schools protect pupils from the risk of radicalisation and meet their legal duty to "have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism". This is referred to in our guide to the governance of safeguarding

How are British values promoted in schools?

The primary means a school has to promote British values is through the curriculum and ensuring the requirement to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of pupils is met. This is covered in our guidance on promoting British values through the curriculum. More widely, schools can ensure that pupils 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.

Ofsted expectations

Ofsted considers how well a school promotes British values when judging the effectiveness of leadership and management.

What governing boards should do

The role of governing boards is to ensure that the legal duty to promote fundamental British values is being met by:

  • setting an ethos that promotes fundamental British values   
  • approving policies that are consistent with their ethos
  • ensuring that fundamental British values are visible in a rich, broad and balanced curriculum
  • monitoring how fundamental British values are being promoted in school
  • taking appropriate action if anyone acts to undermine fundamental British values

Further reading

Connect With Us
  • NGA, 36 Great Charles Street, Birmingham, B3 3JY
  • Phone: 0121 237 3780 | Contact Us
  • Charity Number: 1070331 | Company Number 3549029

Copyright © 2019 National Governance AssociationA Dreamscape Digital Solution