Mutual Respect and Tolerance
Earlier this year we asked the children if they could name the official Fundamental British Values which all schools are encouraged to promote. Disappointingly, less than 50% of the pupils felt they could and even adults, when put on the spot, often flounder around for the right words. As it happens, the children do know them; they just don’t know the correct terminology.
The FBVs are something all pupils should know whether they are British or not. By attending a British school, it is important to understand the things that are important in British culture. Most importantly though, the FBVs should not be seen as unique to Britain. They’re not. They are promoted in many other countries too. The values are:
- The Rule of Law
- Individual Liberty
- Mutual Respect
- Tolerance of other Faiths and Beliefs
There has been a great deal in the news lately about the riots and so I spoke in one of my morning addresses this week about mutual respect and tolerance. The children know that George Floyd, a black man, died because of mistreatment by white police officers. They have seen the demonstrations and violence taking place in America, Britain and other parts of the world. They know that there is far too little respect and acceptance of others at times in society and they know, too, I hope, that we at St Andrew’s are trying hard to promote these things.
St Andrew’s is a school that was founded on Christian principles and we are proud of our wonderful chapel. Our services take a Christian approach, but the themes we talk about are common to many religions and are also relevant to people who do not have a particular faith. These are themes like kindness, respect and love, compassion, and indeed tolerance.
Androvians are encouraged to have an opinion and know that others may have a different view. How one deals with this is important. The riots and violence have raised awareness but they have also caused confusion and fear and this is something we must avoid if we want to change a culture.
We cannot undo the wrongs of the past – and there have been wrongs. But what we can do is learn from the mistakes of the past to ensure they do not happen again. People who wrong others because of their race, religion or nationality must be brought to justice and by promoting values like tolerance, kindness and respect, whether British or not, we can make the world a better place.