When Ofsted inspects schools, they must determine how effectively the school is promoting the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
So, how do we do this at Meanwood?
We are proud to include a wide social, ethnic and cultural mix of pupils in school; children learn to get on very well with others of different backgrounds. The strong school ethos of positive attitudes towards and tolerance of diversity is promoted through all staff interactions with children, through lessons and through assembly themes. Children are explicitly taught that discriminatory language or behaviour is unacceptable and are taught to respect others and to resolve disagreements amicably.
Children demonstrate, through their consistently good behaviour, a clear sense of right and wrong. In Reception and KS1, "Dinosaur School" is highly effective in teaching children what is right and wrong and why. It also helps children to be considerate towards others. School rules emphasise respecting others and staff encourage children to make the right choices about their behaviour.
The school uses the LA agreed syllabus for RE which studies a range of religions and cultures. The school ensures that during their time at Meanwood, children have the opportunity to develop their understanding of RE through visits to local churches, a mosque, a Hindu temple and a synagogue. The school has taken part in the borough wide Celebration of Faith and has contributed children’s RE work to the display during this event.
Festivals of world faiths are marked in assemblies and celebrated in school. Christian faith leaders from local churches are invited to lead worship for special occasions, such as at Christmas, Easter and harvest festival. Assemblies have also been led by Muslims for special occasions such as Eid and Hajj.
An act of worship is held daily following an annual plan of assembly themes which develop children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural skills. This includes an opportunity for personal reflection on the theme of the assembly. Daily assemblies offer opportunities for discussion and reflection about morals and values; children are able to explain their thoughts and show a high level of understanding of right and wrong.
An understanding of civil and criminal law in England is developed through assemblies, PSHE and through discussion with children. Children understand that the school rules are just like the laws of the country in that they exist to ensure everyone is safe from harm. They also understand that consequences for poor behaviour in school are reflected by sanctions and punishments given to adults by the police and courts. Good links exist with the local PCSO team who visit school to build positive relationships with children and to address any issues in the local community relevant to children.
Children learn about democracy through engaging in democratic elections, for example for school council and house captains.
Pupils take on positions of responsibility, eg as School Councillors, Reading Ambassadors or through various monitor jobs in class.
Pupils gain confidence in a range of social situations, for example when taking part in inter-school events or performing in concerts or when speaking to adults, including visitors at school and on trips.
Fundraising for charity is a regular feature of the school calendar. The School Council take a leading role in planning fundraising events. The school collects food for Rochdale Foodbank and also distributes vouchers to families in need.
The curriculum is broad and balanced and ensures that children learn about the cultural heritage of Britain and about different cultures through history, geography, RE, literacy, art, music and dance. Resources, books and teaching materials are chosen with care to positively reflect the diversity of British society.Trips develop children’s understanding of Britain beyond their own locality.
Year 4 children do an annual topic, “Higher Futures for You,” which introduces them to the world of higher education and careers. The topic includes a visit to a local college and a careers fair, during which they interview a range of adults about their jobs.
Children throughout school have many opportunities to engage positively with the local community, eg through visits and visitors. (Police, fire service, school nurse, visiting the local old people’s home, library, local parks and museums.) Year 5 do the “Community Kids” project annually, working with staff from Rochdale Boroughwide housing; this gives them opportunity to learn about their community, their role as good citizens, and making a positive contribution to their locality through a class project
Children are open to new cultural experiences, e.g. cooking and tasting traditional dishes from other countries. A highly successful International Week in summer 2013 gave children a very wide range of cultural experiences.
Children are given opportunities to play sports in PE and also to take part in lunchtime and extracurricular sports activities, including entering competitions against other schools. Through sports, children learn to respect the rules of the game, to respect team mates and opponents and to play fairly.
Music is a strength of the school, with a specialist music teacher teaching all classes every week. The music curriculum exposes children to music from different times and cultures. Children are encouraged to gain confidence in their own musical ability and are given opportunities to perform in front of their peers in class and in assembly. A large number of children take part in extra-curricular music activities which broaden their social and cultural experiences through performing music and performing to different audiences, within school and in the wider community. Children are given opportunities to listen to live music, played by visiting musicians or performed by their peers. They learn how to show appreciation and how to be a good audience. A “composer of the week” for assemblies gives children an appreciation of music from the Western classical tradition as well as music from a range of other countries, styles and periods.
Good induction procedures for newly arrived families in school ensure that children, including those from other countries, who may speak a language other than English, are quickly supported to integrate into school and that they, and their parents, know what to expect from an English education. Effective EAL support for new arrivals ensures that they are supported to learn English and to access the full curriculum as quickly as possible.