This word is often used, but not always defined. At Venn Boulevard Centre we believe that it means 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 Council and small job roles in school).
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 attend Youth Parliament in the City Centre.
It is important for children to realise that rules are there to protect the common good. In school we have non negotiables and these are discussed at the beginning of each academic year and 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 who come into school.
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.
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 at Venn Boulevard Centre.
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 RS and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.
The children are taught about the key world faiths and always seeks to work with the wider community in any way possible. We have a moral responsibility to ensure that our pupils 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.
A Diverse Society
We seek to not only learn about other faiths in Religious Studies lessons but to spend time visiting different places of worship and meeting other children and adults with different faiths. 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 so the pupils can visit and learn and experience directly.
We intend to build upon the success of this and ensure that our pupils increase their knowledge of other faiths and cultures and importantly that they ‘experience’ other faiths and cultures. It is first hand experiences which we believe will making a lasting impact upon our pupils and ensure that they grow up to be knowledge and tolerant citizens. We celebrate important days from a range of other faiths and cultures.
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 good citizen in our society today. We want our pupils to be outward looking, tolerant and knowledgeable.
The pupils will not just learn about their own faith. Through their KS3 and/or KS4 curriculum Religious Studies scheme our pupils will about Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism. 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 for example Yom Kippur and Eid.
Social, Moral, Cultural and Spiritual
We aim to give our pupils 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 and the topics the pupils learn about we seek to develop the children’s understanding of other cultures and complex moral issues.
“The most striking aspect of your school is the way in which you plan to support pupils’ individual needs.”
“Pupils told inspectors that they really value the way in which they feel respected at your school.”
“A time of ‘reflection’ at the end of the
day allows pupils to consider how they have performed at school and helps them to focus on their attitudes and behaviours. ”
“Pupils talked to us about the way in which you
and your staff celebrate difference and help to make everyone feel valued.”
“Pupils value the way in which you and your
staff make everyone feel included.”
“Pupils are given chances to reflect upon this
through ‘life books’ where observations are made, and improvements praised.”