Promoting British and Global Values at Weald Community Primary School
The school’s vision statement is ‘Independence is Happiness’. This is underpinned by the values of ‘Respect’, ‘Optimism’ and ‘Ambition’.
Culturally, the school’s pupil population has undergone a significant demographic change in recent years. In 2010, 10% of the children were from ethnic groups other than White English. By 2016, the percentage had risen to 20%. This may be attributed to the school’s much enhanced emphasis on developing children’s values, knowledge and skills in preparation for living and working in a globalised world. This internationalisation of the community is distinctive within the school’s immediate geographical context and may be attributed to the effectiveness of the website in communicating the school’s ethos to families immigrating to the UK and the success of the Global Learning dimension.
The Department for Education have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
At Weald Community Primary School, these values are reinforced regularly and consistently in the following ways:
The Pupil Forum is a consultative body composed of all pupils and members of staff within the school. Ten vertically integrated groups discuss topics pertinent to the school improvement priorities. The meetings are chaired by Year 6 pupils and minutes are taken by a staff facilitator. The key findings and action points are summarised by the Headteacher and communicated to the school at pupil forum feedback assemblies. Feedback on all the topics discussed can be found on the ‘Pupils’ page of this website. Action points are incorporated into the school’s forward planning and implemented where appropriate.
Therefore, the Pupil Forum plays a meaningful role in effecting change within the school community. Children feel that their opinions are being listened to and that their ideas come to fruition. A children’s version of the School Improvement Plan is discussed annually at Pupil Forum meetings.
Elections involving all pupils and staff take place annually to appoint the Head Boy and Head Girl. Prospective candidates present their manifestoes in assembly and canvass for votes. Elections are also held to replicate General Elections and other democratic processes; for example the Scottish referendum and the vote to stay in or exit the EU.
Pupil and staff questionnaires occur annually to elicit views and opinions on all aspects of school life. The findings are presented to the school and governors and incorporated into school improvement planning.
The Tree of Change: during the Autumn Term 2015, all members of the community (pupils, staff, governors and parents) engaged in a comprehensive school improvement consultation exercise, facilitated by an external professional development officer. Participants were requested to work in groups to highlight pictorially the school community’s ‘strengths’ and ‘desires’. The findings were communicated to all constituencies and the thinking rationalised by the Leadership Team and used to inform the composition of the revised School improvement Plan.
PSHE assemblies focus on fundamental values and operate on a two weekly cycle. The Headteacher delivers a story (told or acted out without notes) in order to engender high level speaking and listening skills. Differentiated critical thinking tasks are set for each class. Focus topics during 2015-16 have included ‘Fair Play’; ‘Connecting with the inside of people’; ‘Justice’; ‘The Soul Bird’; ‘Happiness’; ‘Service to others’; ‘Participate, Enjoy, Succeed’.
Global Learning assemblies develop critical thinking and questioning skills, empathy and cultural appreciation in relation to global issues like poverty, inequality, sustainability and paternalism. They are designed to promote a culture of tolerance, fairness, respect and interdependence as children grow into global citizens.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they are those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are reinforced consistently at Weald Community Primary School. Pupils are taught from Reception age the codes of conduct that govern school life. The Positive Behaviour Policy (see ‘Parents’/’Policies’ page) states that:
A key priority is the nurturing of emotional intelligence. The philosophy is based upon “The Soulbird” by Michal Snunit and the development of “personal responsibility” in creating a culture of consideration for others, courtesy and citizenship (3Cs Policy).
It outlines the expectations of behaviour in different areas of school life and emphasises the importance of children taking responsibility for their actions, developing tolerance and learning from their mistakes
Issues relating to ‘the rule of law’ are often discussed at Pupil Forum Meetings and with the Head Boy, Head Girl and House Captains. Visits from authorities such as the Police and Fire Service help reinforce this message. One of our teachers is a Magistrate and she has been instrumental in explaining the basics of the legal system and the rule of law.
At Weald Community Primary School, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. During the Spring Term, 2015 the assembly programme focused on the The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Article 28 (primary education for all); Article 19 & Articles 32-7 (protecting children from violence, neglect, poor treatment & exploitation) and Article 2 (protecting children from discrimination) were all examined and discussed in detail.
Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely; for example, through our e-Safety and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) assemblies and lessons. There is a ‘Happiness’ Award which is given out every Friday in our Celebration Assembly for a pupil who has brought joy to the community through their consideration for others and citizenship. ‘Thank you’ or ‘Kindness’ certificates are also awarded to those who demonstrate responsible and caring behaviour.
The House Points system engenders a sense of team work and societal values in all areas of school life; a cup is awarded each week during our Celebration Assembly to the house that has accumulated the most points.
Respect is one of the three key pillars or values underpinning life at Weald. Children learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of the school community are encouraged to treat each other with respect. PSHE assemblies, Global Learning assemblies, Church Services, assemblies by the vicar at St. George’s, the History Troupe and Starfish Malawi all reinforce ‘respect’ as a fundamental platform for the multifarious relationships at all levels within the school. This value is strengthened enormously through the joint curriculum project work with our sister school, Kanthenga in Malawi
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
At Weald Community Primary School, we actively promote diversity through our celebrations of different faiths and cultures. Religious Education lessons and PSHE lessons reinforce messages of tolerance and respect for others. Members of different faiths and religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school. An excellent example of the school’s commitment to recognising diversity is its role as an Expert Centre for the Global Learning Programme and the concomitant outreach programme that it organises for other schools.