I am in a predominantly White primary school on final placement. The school is keen to address community cohesion and 'race' equality as they feel that these are areas that have been neglected in the past. Could you advise some starting points?
1. Addressing the issue raised in the scenario
It is good to see that the school is recognising its responsibilities under the Education and Inspections Act (2006) which requires the promotion of community cohesion. The fact that the school is located in a predominantly White location makes this kind of work as, if not more important than if it was located in a more ethnically diverse area as pupils' misconceptions and stereotypical assumptions could be more likely to go unaddressed.
In addition, the school is required by law (see below) to actively promote ‘race' equality and to eliminate discrimination. They will have to present evidence to Ofsted of their work in both of these areas.
As a student teacher/trainee, a good starting point would be to consider the ways in which your planning not only meets the needs of the children you will be teaching but also, encourages them to recognise the diverse, multicultural society in which they live. This could be done for example through the choice of texts that you use in literacy, the images and resources pupils are exposed to in the classroom, and the ways in which you act as a role model in demonstrating the importance you attach to such work.
It is much more effective if such an emphasis is seen as a whole-school, integral part of the curriculum and not something which is only addressed by individuals. It might be interesting to ask your school-based mentor to show you any examples of such work which is already on-going, or you could offer some suggestions. The QCA Respect for All website (see link below) has practical examples of how various curriculum areas can lend themselves to demonstrate how diversity is valued and it also includes a useful audit tool for schools and teachers to use to assess the effectiveness of their work in this area. This might be the starting point they are looking for.
2. Finding out about rights and responsibilities
The Education and Inspections Act (2006) introduced a duty on all maintained schools in England to promote community cohesion and Ofsted to report on the contributions made in this area. The duty on schools came into effect in September 2007 and the duty on Ofsted will commence in September 2008.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families has published Guidance on the Duty to Promote Community Cohesion, (2007) which defines community cohesion as:
'...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.' (DCSF 2007, page 3).
Find out more: Community Cohesion
The Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000) places three general duties on all schools and other public bodies:
-to eliminate discrimination
-to promote equality of opportunity
-to promote good ‘race' relations
All schools are required to:
-actively promote ‘race' equality
- prepare a ‘race' equality policy
-monitor attainment by ethnicity, using new, electronic data systems
-monitor exclusions by ethnicity
-monitor progress and make such information publicly available
Find out more: Race Relations (Amendment) Act
Ofsted: Under the new arrangements for OFSTED inspections, schools are required to complete a self-evaluation form (SEF) which forms an integral part of the inspection process. Schools are asked to refer to how they are actively promoting equality and combating racism and bullying.
Find out more: Ofsted
The National Curriculum:
The Values, Aims and Purposes underpinning the National Curriculum (see here): states that:
Education is also a route to equality of opportunity for all, a healthy and just democracy, a productive economy, and sustainable development. Education should reflect the enduring values that contribute to these ends. These include valuing ourselves, our families and other relationships, the wider groups to which we belong, the diversity in our society and the environment in which we live. Education should also reaffirm our commitment to the virtues of truth, justice, honesty, trust and a sense of duty.
It is therefore a teacher's and school's responsibility to ensure that the ways in which the subjects which make up the National Curriculum are delivered reflect such a commitment.
Information relating to inclusion and diversity and the curriculum can be found on the QCDA's website: http://www.qcda.gov.uk/curriculum/sen/532.aspx
Information relating to Community Cohesion and the curriculum, including Community Cohesion Guidance (QCDA, 2010) can be found at: http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/new-primary-curriculum/About-the-new-primary-curriculum/equalities-diversity-and-inclusion/community-cohesion/index.aspx
Ensuring that you are promoting community cohesion and ‘race' equality could contribute to evidence to support some/all of the following QTS Standards:
Q1: Have high expectations of children and young people including a commitment to ensuring that they can achieve their full educational potential and to establishing fair, respectful, trusting, supportive and constructive relationships with them.
Q2: Demonstrate the positive values, attitudes and behaviour they expect from children and young people.
Q3(a): Be aware of the professional duties of teachers and the statutory framework within which they work.
Q3(b): Be aware of the policies and practices of the workplace and share in collective responsibility for their implementation
Q4: Communicate effectively with children, young people, colleagues, parents and carers.
Q5: Recognise and respect the contribution that colleagues, parents and carers can make to the development and well-being of children and young people and to raising their levels of attainment.
Q18: Understand how children and young people develop and that the progress and well-being of learners are affected by a range of developmental, social, religious, ethnic, cultural and linguistic influences.
Q19: Know how to make effective personalised provision for those they teach, including those for whom English is an additional language or who have special educational needs or disabilities, and how to take practical account of diversity and promote equality and inclusion in their teaching.
Q25(a): Use a range of teaching strategies and resources, including e-learning, taking practical account of diversity and promoting equality and inclusion.
Find out more:
3. Using relevant Multiverse resources
ITE activity: Planning an Inclusive, Anti-Racist Curriculum: outline of a teaching session in which student teachers/trainees are asked to reflect upon their own practice and observations to consider the potential of the National Curriculum to address issues relating to diversity.
Integrating Global, Anti-Racist Perspectives (GARP) within the Primary Curriculum: Example of a project designed to demonstrate that global and anti-racist perspectives can be integrated into daily teaching and learning activities, in the course of delivering the National Curriculum and National Strategies.
Developing a Culturally Inclusive Curriculum - Newham EMAS and Mantra Lingua (2007): Details of a training pack for primary teachers designed to help teachers explore concepts of multiculturalism and inclusion, to build their confidence in creatively adapting the curriculum and to support them in addressing issues, such as racism that arise in the classroom.
Resources from Woodberry Down Community Primary School: interactive website developed by Woodberry Down Community Primary School in London, which contains a comprehensive range of resources addressing diversity in the primary curriculum. A key element of the site is the collection of children's work in all aspects of the curriculum.
Black History Month website: website including latest events, news, features, resources for schools and further useful links.
Portsmouth EMAS website including downloadable resources
AUDIT TOOLS (useful for whole-school-use)
Self-assessment rating scale on diversity - Siraj-Blatchford & Clark (2000)