Our aim is to offer a curriculum with the development of children at the heart, so that they will grow into young people who will take an active and positive part in the diverse communities in which they live.
We want to develop the children so they become closer to God, but also to develop them so that they live and work in a multicultural society, respecting and valuing all aspects of it.
Review of Equality Progress
Key British Value: Tolerance
Over the course of the last two years children have been taught about world faiths through their Come and See topics. Assemblies and themed days linked closely to the British Value of tolerance.
The children learnt about the actions and impact of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Pope John Paul. All these people, and many others we have studied, stood up to intolerance and demonstrated how we should be intolerant of intolerance.
We are aware that some of our children come from a community where at times social problems and intolerance are unacceptable and they spoil our communities. A small minority of people in our community display values we would not wish to instil in our children. We work hard to counter that as we have many people in our community who are inspirational role models. People who model service and commitment. We feel it is important for our children not only to experience and learn about tolerance, but they become advocates of it in the wider world.
The children learn about the harm that racism does, but they also learn how they can be role models and take the action needed to improve our communities.
The school is working towards achieving with the Full Internationals School Award from the British Council in recognition for its success in its work in promoting and developing an international themed curriculum.
A Diverse Society
We seek to not only learn about other faiths in their R.E. lessons but to spend time with and mix with children from other cultures. We are fortunate to live in a diverse society and we want our children to learn first-hand about other faiths. We have established links with our local mosque, Sikh temple and synagogue in Newcastle so the children can visit and learn and experience directly.
We intend to build upon the success of this year and ensure that our children increase their knowledge of other faiths and cultures and importantly that they ‘experience’ other faiths and cultures. It is through first hand experiences which we believe will making a lasting impact upon our children and ensure that they grow up to be knowledge and tolerant citizens.
Social, Moral, Cultural and Spiritual Aspects of learning
We aim to give the children a very rounded education. This will involve devoting time throughout the school year to the social, moral, cultural and spiritual aspects of learning. Every day in school, through class discussions, moments of prayer and the topics the children learn about we seek to develop the children’s understanding of other cultures and complex moral issues.
Promoting Fundamental British Values
In accordance with The Department for Education we aim to actively promote British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. Pupils are encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance and understand that while different people may hold different views about what is “right” and “wrong”, all people living in England are subject to its law. We use Picture News to engage our children in topical and current issues and relate these back to the importance of citizenship.
The Key Values are:
- rule of law
- individual liberty
- mutual respect
- tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
Learning about other Faiths
We fundamentally believe that a greater understanding of other faiths and religions can only serve to enhance the children’s understanding of what it means to be a Catholic in our society today. We want our children to be outward looking, tolerant and knowledgeable.
The children will not just learn about their own faith. Through the ‘Come and See’ Religious Education scheme the children will about Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism. Their lessons will involve visits to places of worship, visits from different religious leaders. We will also ensure that the children experience and learn about key festivals in faiths other than Catholicism for example Yom Kippur and Eid.
Learning from important people
The children will learn about key individuals whose faith and actions have shaped the world in which we live today. They will learn about the inspirational messages of love, hope and perseverance from Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Pope John Paul and Maximillian Kolbe. We want our children to be able to see the transformative effect faith can have when put into action.
The government expects all schools to promote British Values. These values are:
- Democracy This is word often used, but not always defined. We believe that everyone who lives in a particular country or a community and even a school can get involved in the way that country is run. For children we begin by teaching them from their perspective: when they and their friends have different ideas about what game to play – how do they decide what to do? The fairest way could be to have a vote and go with what most of them want. Children are taught to respect other people’s views and to accept other people’s decisions when it’s for the good of the majority. This is developed in lessons, at playtimes and throughout school life. The most common type of democracy is called a representative democracy where people are chosen to vote on all the decisions. They are chosen by the people in an election – that’s another word for a vote! Children decide on their class representatives each year (School Council, Eco Warriors, Librarians). They make it very clear what they believe in and then it’s up to the children to vote for those they think would best represent them. The children also support local councils such as Thornaby Council and the mayor visits the school so the children can hear about how people, who are elected, help them. The older children also visit London to see Parliament and to visit Downing Street.
- The rule of law It is important for children to realise that rules are there to protect the common good. In school we have golden rules in every classroom and these are discussed at the beginning of each academic year. Teachers revisit these rules with the children when appropriate. It is from these starting points that children need to learn that rules are there to help protect all and they help our communities and they protect people. The school enjoys a positive relationship with the local police and we host Citizenship visits to help the older children understand in greater depth the importance of laws.
- Individual liberty Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for young pupils to make choices safely, through provision of a safe environment and empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advise how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it be through choice of challenge, or of participation in our numerous extra-curricular clubs and opportunities, pupils are given the freedom to make choices.
- Mutual respect Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around Core Values such as ‘Respect’. Pupils have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. All adults working in school must model this through their actions so this is promoted. The school works hard to ensure its behaviour policy is lived out by all within the school and takes positive action when any person may act in a way contrary to this. Mutual respect is something that must be lived and experienced in our school.
- Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. This is achieved through enhancing pupils’ understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
They are at the very core of all we do. We have a moral responsibility to ensure that our children simply don’t learn about these values but they live them out and respect them. These are not values to be learnt about: they are values that need to be developed and grown within our children. It is therefore paramount that all of us show example and leadership in promoting these values. As a school community we need to live these values out and be role models to our children. The school ensures that these are promoted through our actions and also incorporates them into the curriculum, at an age appropriate level, so the children and society benefit.