At Malmesbury Primary School we actively support and uphold British values, which are democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. These principles are woven through our curriculum, are seen in action in our Children's Council and school rules, and are taught in PSHE lessons and in Assemblies.
We are exploring what the values mean in practice, through our assembly programme.
We asked members of staff who have moved to the UK from another country to share their experiences and Mrs Ubhi and Mrs Kirubaharan shared their stories.
Mrs Ubhi's Story
"Mutual respect means two way, equal respect – you and me respecting each other. Accepting what is different and what is the same about each other. Tolerance means we understand that we may have different ways of life and beliefs to others and that we all have a choice about what we believe. It also means being OPEN to our differences, eg how we look, dress, the food we eat and how we speak.
I came from India when I was 9 years old. I started in year 4 primary school in Leeds a long time ago. I went to two different schools in Leeds. This was to learn English and my lessons. I used to travel on two buses to get to that school and then back to my main school for the afternoon lessons. It was a big change for me as in India I lived in a small village and the school was only a walk away. So coming to England was so different from back home. I remember I used to pick corn and cotton buds from the fields and cutting wheat. Coming to England was a huge change.
I was taught by my uncle and my father how to walk on the pavements and look out for traffic on the roads learning the Green Cross Code – Stop, Look and Listen. I also learnt how to travel on the buses and also how to be polite when travelling, eg waiting for your turn when queuing up to get on the bus and giving up my seat to the people who needed it more. I had to learn the British way of living, adapting to life here by following the rules, regulations and the law which has helped me to blend in and understand the way to live in England. I was taught that I was to speak politely to people around me and that included my teachers and elders. I also learnt the importance of saying please and thank you. The food was so different which I got used to very quickly. I loved my fish and chips in newspaper, Yorkshire pudding and yummy lemon tarts and lots of different types of chocolates.
The uniform was different too!! I wore a skirt and tights and had PE and swimming lessons. I am very thankful for all the help and lovely life I’ve had here in England. This is my home, but at the same time I still follow my culture along with my British values.
I learnt English and progressed in my life and have worked for many years. My daughters have done really well in their lives and are now serving the country and living the British and Indian values. I have many friends from different faiths and I respect and celebrate their cultural festivals too. At Christmas and Diwali I light my house and decorate it to celebrate both occasions.
It is because of the British value of this two way respect and tolerance of my different beliefs and actions and learning about the English way of life that I have been able to live here and call England my home while keeping and remembering my roots. I like supporting children at Malmesbury and I hope you will all learn the English language and follow British values to progress in your life and respect each other’s faiths and beliefs equally taking the best of your own and the British culture."
Mrs Kirubaharan's Story
"I came from Sri Lanka and I am living in England. Now this is my home country. When I came from Sri Lanka I was a little worried and wasn't sure about the life in England. But I got along with the people; I followed the rules; I abide by the law and I respect the culture and the values of Britain.
When I moved here the first people I met were my neighbours. They welcomed me and helped me to settle in where I live. Then, at work, my colleagues supported me and helped me to settle in. Now they are not my colleagues anymore. They are my friends. Now I feel this is my home.
When I was in Sri Lanka I cared for my environment, I got along with others, I helped the other people, I joined in with the community. This is what I am doing here because this is my home.
I still do celebrate Sri Lankan festivals and I haven't forgotten Sri Lanka, but, at the same time I celebrate Christmas; I join in Easter celebrations, Remembrance day and Hallowween celebrations. This is how I respect the culture and values of Britain. I think I am privileged to live here."