Last reviewed 6 April 2016

Liz Hodgman looks at how British values will already be part of our provision as they are threaded through the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and provides useful ideas on how to evidence this to Ofsted.

I manage a group of children’s centres in a very diverse and deprived area. Recently we had a staff training day looking at our responsibilities under the Prevent Duty (see our feature article on the Prevent Duty). In order to gain an understanding of extremism we needed to establish what British values are within our provision.

Extremism is defined in law as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.” (From the Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015.)

There are four British values.

  • Democracy.

  • The rule of law.

  • Individual liberty.

  • Mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs.

We looked at each value in small groups, linking directly to activities that we do within sessions and considering how we could evidence this to visitors and Ofsted.


This area links to Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

  • Children and parents know that their views within the provision count. They feel they are listened to and that their viewpoint is valid and taken into consideration when possible. We use “You said we did” sheets to evidence this and display them on a notice board. (They could also be put in a display folder that is always accessible in the main reception area.) For children the display could include photographs or graphics to help them to understand.

  • Encourage them to value other’s views.

  • Value and talk about their feelings.

  • Know they can ask for help if/when they need it.

  • Children and parents putting democracy into action, for example helping to decide planning for future sessions and activities (evidence in your planning sheets).

  • Provide activities that promote turn taking, sharing and collaboration.

  • Provide activities that allow children to make choices and make decisions.

  • Encourage children to negotiate, for example when two children want to play with the same toy.

  • Support children to have enquiring minds and to ask questions. You could develop a display of the questions that the children ask to demonstrate this.

Rule of law

This area links to Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

  • Support the children to manage their feelings and behaviour, this may include sharing story books with key messages in them.

  • Help them to learn right from wrong.

  • Learning about boundaries and dealing with consequences (displaying your simple provision rules using words and pictures).

  • Help children to understand about rules and that they apply to all.

  • Involve children and parents in agreeing rules (policies and procedures), for example tidying up time.

Individual liberty

This area links to Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Understanding the World.

  • Allowing children to take risks (this could be climbing a frame or walking along a balance beam without adult support).

  • Allowing children to make choices, which paint colours to mix, which colour plate to use.

  • Supporting children to develop a positive sense of themselves, increasing their confidence in their abilities and knowledge through a wide range of activities.

  • Support children to develop and explore the language of feelings and responsibility (having a provision pet is a good example where the children learn how to be responsible for cleaning and feeding the pet).

  • Talk with them about people having different opinions and feelings, for example moving to school from nursery (maybe share and discuss books on transition).

Mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths

This area links to Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Understanding the World.

  • Help children to learn to treat others as we want to be treated — create an ethos of inclusivity and tolerance where everyone feels welcome and valued (this means more than a token “welcome” sign in multiple languages).

  • Help families to feel part of the community (you might consider organising some local community events or involving the provision with local fairs etc).

  • Help children to manage their feelings and behaviour, make a display of good behaviour or emotions and what might trigger these feelings.

  • Help children to develop their relationships with their peers and other adults.

  • Celebrate other cultures, appreciate and respect others.

  • Challenge stereotyping.

  • Share stories that reflect this value.


  • Ensure all staff and volunteers within the provision have done training on British values and are able to explain how these are incorporated within everyday practice within the provision.

  • Discuss during staff meetings how British values are being used within the provision and how they can be evidenced in difference ways for an Ofsted Inspection.

  • Develop a display on British values and/or a scrapbook with children’s photos as examples.

  • Include information on British values on your provision’s website and in newsletters so that families are aware of them.

  • Add British values to planning sheets.

  • Include within staff supervision sessions.

  • Include within staff and volunteer induction packs/training.

Additional information