Dignity and Diversity at St Nics'
Our school vision is the powerful thread that weaves through all aspects of school life. In the last few years, we have been reflecting on enriching our curriculum by including more opportunities to appreciate and develop our understanding of diversity and to challenge injustice.
Our school community “lives life in all its fullness” John 10:10:
Through a love of learning,
With the financial support of our PSA, we have invested in beautiful books for our classrooms and reading scheme books which better reflect the diversity of our society and we will continue to develop and add to these resources.
We have reviewed our curriculum carefully, in order to both ‘decolonise’ it and to enhance and enrich it by finding examples to use in teaching which reflect a diverse range of people. This is a continual process and we will keep adding more examples as we find them.
For example, in our KS1 history teaching, the children have studied John Blanke (a Black trumpeter at the court of Henry VII), Jacques Francis (a diver from Guinea who retrieved items when the Mary Rose sank), Maori explorers who discovered Antarctica, Mary Kingsley (a female Victorian explorer) and Matthew Henson (an African American explorer who was co-discoverer of the North Pole). We believe that these examples not only teach the history knowledge and skills required by the curriculum, but also impart the concepts of dignity, fairness, equality of opportunity, and courage to live your dreams.
By having a sense of unity,
We ensure that the images we use in school are diverse and reflect the multi-cultural society in which we live. We frequently celebrate cultures within and beyond our school community, broadening the children’s horizons and showing them what a beautifully diverse world we live in. One of the ways we do this is by including a World Church aspect in our Collective Worship, R.E. teaching and Advent and Easter Pause Days, in which we often learn about how Christian beliefs are expressed and festivals celebrated around the world.
We also hold an annual Black History and Dignity Pause Day, where we celebrate figures from Black history (Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Bessie Coleman, Raye Montague, Sojurner Truth and Claudia Jones) and the difference they have made in the world and hold a mini Notting Hill Carnival to celebrate the contribution of Caribbean culture in Britain.
Understanding right and wrong,
We use examples of inspiring figures from history to teach our engaging curriculum, including many people who did led the way in equal rights and landmark achievements, such as Mae Jemison, Emmeline Pankhurst, Malala Yousafzai, Michelle and Barak Obama, Stephen Hawking, Ada Lovelace, Helen Keller, Grace Darling, Alan Turing. Kadeena Cox, Ellie Simmonds and Ade Adepitan.
Examples like these can raise the aspirations of all children by showing what is possible with dedication, determination and courage, even when the odds might appear to be stacked against you and by showing what can be achieved when people are brave enough to stand up for what is right.
Being able to persevere through life’s challenges
We recognise that we do not live in a perfect world and that each of us has unconscious biases, but we are committed to being reflective and making continual progress in our own and the children’s character development. This can be an uncomfortable process, but through staff training, classroom and individual discussions, and with mutual support and in our loving ‘family’ environment, everyone is encouraged to reflect and continue to develop.
With dignity and respect for ourselves and others
We also hold an annual Anti-Racism Pause Day, where in a gentle age-appropriate way, we teach what racism is, the effects it has and how we can work to prevent racism by standing up for what is right and being good role models in the world by making sure we treat everyone with dignity and respect. We use the UN Rights of a Child to help children to understand how these rights affect people and how vital they are for happy, healthy lives. We also take part in ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ competitions to raise the profile of this difficult issue.
And with hope for the future and all that it brings.
Through these efforts and the environment of dignity and respect in our school community, we have hope that we are all able to make a difference in the world through our actions and attitudes, so that the world around us becomes a fairer and more respectful place for us all to live.
We have created these resources to support our work on anti-racism. If you choose to use our resources, please read them through carefully and ensure that the way you use them is appropriate for the children in your setting. We reflect on and review the resources each time we use them because cohorts and staff changes may require tweaks to the content. For example, if the school has more Asian or Traveller children join one year, there may be opportunities to include stories and examples related to these families' cultures and backgrounds. The age of our children (4-7yrs) means we have been careful to ensure our resources are age-appropriate. Older children will be able to engage with more challenging examples of racism and may be mature enough to understand some of the historical context of racism linked to slavery.
If you find these resources helpful, do let us know, we'd love to hear from you!