Community Cohesion Policy
There is a duty for schools to promote community cohesion under the Education and Inspections Act 2006.
The curriculum of our church school promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, intellectual and physical development of our pupils and of society and prepares our pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. This is part of our role and the school works in ways which promotes community cohesion. As migration and economic change alter the shape of our increasingly diverse communities, it is important that our school plays its full part in promoting community cohesion while learning about others.
Every school is responsible for educating children and young people who will live and work in a country which is diverse in terms of culture, faith, ethnicity and social backgrounds. The staff and pupil populations of some schools reflect this diversity, allowing pupils to mix with those from different backgrounds; our school endeavours to make links with other schools and organisations in order to do this.
We wish to show that, through our ethos and curriculum, our school can promote a common sense of identity and support diversity, showing pupils how different communities can be united by common experiences and values. We believe it is our duty as a school to address issues of ‘how we live together’ and ‘dealing with difference’.
What is community cohesion?
Community cohesion is about working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community.
Community from our school’s perspective
For Thurton Church of England VC Primary School, the term ‘community‘ has a number of dimensions including:
- The school community – the pupils it serves, their families and the school’s staff;
- The community within which the school is located – the school in its geographical community – Thurton, near Norwich , in the county of Norfolk and the people who live or work in that area;
- The community of Britain – all schools are by definition part of this community;
- The global community – formed by European Union (EU) and international links.
In addition, as a school, we are also part of other communities – for example, the networks formed by schools within the Hobart cluster, Diocese of Norwich links, Local church links, and sports activities.
What can we do to promote community cohesion?
All schools have a key part to play in promoting community cohesion through their approach to:
- Teaching and learning: teaching pupils to understand others, promoting discussion and debate about common values and diversity
- Equity and excellence: removing barriers to access and participation, offering equal opportunities to all their pupils to succeed at the highest level possible
- Engagement and ethos: providing opportunities for children, young people and their families to interact with others from different backgrounds.
Broadly, our school’s contribution to community cohesion can be grouped under the three following headings:
Teaching, learning and curriculum
Teaching pupils to understand others, to promote common values and to value diversity, to promote awareness of human rights and of the responsibility to uphold and defend them, and to develop the skills of participation and responsible action.
As an effective school we have high standards of teaching and curriculum provision that support high standards of attainment, promote common values and build pupils’ understanding of the diversity that surrounds them, recognising similarities and appreciating different cultures, faiths, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. Opportunities for discussing issues of identity and diversity are integrated across the curriculum, for example – celebration of other faiths in Religious Education (RE) and through assemblies, links with other schools, the Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) curriculum and through our curriculum.
We need to ensure that:
- Lessons across the curriculum promote common values and help pupils to value differences and to challenge prejudice and stereotyping – for example, opportunities in PSHE for pupils to discuss issues of identify and diversity and what it means ‘to live together in the UK .’
- A programme of curriculum based activities whereby pupils’ understanding of community and diversity is enriched through visits and meetings with members of different communities.
- Support for pupils for whom English is an Additional Language (EAL) to enable them to achieve at the highest possible level.
- An effective voice and involvement by pupils in the governance and organisation of the school that teaches participation.
- Lessons across the curriculum promote common values and help pupils to appreciate differences and challenge prejudice and stereotyping
- A programme of curriculum-based activities promoting pupils’ understanding of community and diversity through fieldwork, visits and meetings with members of different communities
- Equity and excellence
- A focus on securing high standards of attainment for all pupils from all ethnic backgrounds and of different socio-economic status
- Effective policies in place to deal with incidents of prejudice, bullying and harassment
- Admission arrangements that promote community cohesion and social equity.
Equity and excellence
Ensuring equal opportunity for all to succeed:
- At the highest level possible
- Removing barriers to access and participation in learning wider activities
- Eliminating variations in outcomes for different groups.
The school pupil tracking system enables evaluation of the progress of different groups.
The school monitors incidents of prejudice, bullying and harassment and has clear policies and procedures to follow.
Engagement and ethos
Providing a means for children, young people and their families to interact with people from different backgrounds and build positive relationships, including links with different schools and communities locally, across the country and internationally. This can be done through;
- Sharing facilities
- Meaningful intercultural activities such as sport and drama.
- Links built into existing schemes of work and grounded in the curriculum with pupils working together on a joint project or activity
- School council contributes regularly to improving the school, for example through discussions with the headteacher.
- Children helping in assemblies, running school clubs, library, leading reading champions and play leaders at lunch.
- Children raise money for different charities around the world and locally.
Good partnership activities with the local and wider community include:
- Working with community representatives, for example through mentoring schemes or bringing community representatives into school to work with pupils.
- Strong links and multi-agency working between the school and other local agencies, such as the youth support service, the police and social care and health professionals.
- Engagement with parents through coffee mornings, curriculum evenings, learning conferences, parent and child courses.
- Provision of extended services and community use of facilities for activities that take place out of school hours, including adult and family learning, information and communications technology.
- Head teacher attends parish council meetings to discuss what is happening at the school and to participate in meetings to discuss impact of proposals on the school.
- Where possible the Head teacher is to be on the gate in the morning as a point of contact for parents and the local community.
- Parents involved in whole school curriculum developments
- Governors attend cluster governors training.
- Cluster parent support advisor available for the parents and also at new to Reception meeting and learning conference evenings.
- Governors at parent consultation evenings completing questionnaires with parents.
Monitoring and review
This policy is monitored by the governing body, and will be reviewed in three years, or earlier if necessary.