Values & Ethos
John Port School - A value led community
In good and outstanding schools, values and moral purpose are more than concepts - they are visible and tangible realities. John Port School’s values start by putting the needs of young people at the centre of everything. Amongst their educational and pastoral needs is the need to help them develop their own personal moral compass - not by imposition, but by the presentation of values which enables them to make informed judgements.
In recent times our society has faced threats from extremist groups from across the political spectrum. Such extreme views are not compatible with our democratic society and to combat extremism, the Government decided that all schools should promote “British Values.” There is no dictionary definition of “British Values” but in a speech delivered to Parliament ex-Prime Minister, David Cameron, alluded to:
- a belief in freedom;
- tolerance of others;
- accepting personal and social responsibilities;
- respecting and upholding the rule of law.
Although it is arguable whether these values are uniquely British, they are certainly anchored into British culture by history and tradition; e.g. parliamentary democracy achieved through universal franchise, a free press, the Magna Carta, a body of law and an independent judiciary, equality of opportunity and many other readily recognisable ‘British’ aspects of our way of life which have been achieved through long, hard struggle. What separates British values from those held by many other societies is the ability to demonstrate that we have a culture which embraces change, difference and positive contribution, with an open mind and heart. It is also a culture which resolutely defends itself from being undermined and will reject in a muscular and rigorous manner those individuals who have scant regard for democracy and the rights of others; in short, being clearly and decisively intolerant of those who don’t share these values.
In our society we can accept all religions as well as secularism but we reject any belief-set based on extremism and intolerance of the rights and beliefs of others. Similarly, while freedom of speech is a fundamental British Value and one which we fully endorse, there are those whose racist or homophobic or extreme political views or otherwise deliberately divisive and inflammatory views we would wholly condemn. Such views have no place in John Port School or wider society.
John Port School has long subscribed to this philosophy and therefore has not had to make any cultural shift to accommodate the Government’s requirement to promote “British Values.”