Fundamental British Values

Our assembly theme this term will be FBV: so aside from being told what they are, where do we get our values from and what are they? Most of us have a feeling what we ‘ought’ to do or think, what we feel is right and wrong and an animal instinct to seek pleasure and avoid pain – all these are values. Some are objective and very clear cut; most are subjective and much less clear. This is why we feel values, we can’t really study them. In an episode of the children’s cartoon Noddy, the bad Goblins steal Noddy’s bell, which usually helps him tell right from wrong. With help he realises he didn’t need the bell and he had the values inside him all the time.

Values might be socially acquired from parents, society, groups and even schools. There are aesthetic values as well – the feeling of beauty and wonder and joy. There are doctrinal values, sometimes religious and sometimes secular about modesty, peace, respect for people and we all have some form of moral compass guiding our judgments. We have values imprinted on us when very young, we try out adult values when older and normalise our values within peer groups in teenage years.

Values must be experienced, lived and felt as well as shared and understood. They help us determine priorities, decide whether our life is going well, what is important to us in life and what is not, govern our behaviour and give us integrity. Over the coming weeks we will take the defined Fundamental British Values of tolerance, democracy, the rule of law, independent liberty and mutual respect in turn and examine how we might feel about them today.