Article & Publication

PSHE and Citizenship at Highgate

03 July 2014 By In Blog style
Schools around the world strive to create their school atmosphere and policies to reflect a more inclusive and cohesive society. This requires recognising and responding to diversity and ensuring equality for all.
When we refer to equality we are talking about how we live in a fair society. At the heart of this will be ensuring equal opportunities and equal life chances for all. Material equality, equal access, participation and representation, including the removal of barriers, is essential.
When we refer to diversity we are talking about how we value difference. It involves developing acceptance, respect and understanding of our differences. This will be facilitated through encouraging an openness, between and towards others, promoting cultural exchanges that are responsive to our multiple cultural identities.
The importance of this work has long been recognised through the new duty placed on schools to promote community cohesion. Cohesion or a common sense of belonging is about how we get along with each other. This would be characterised as a feeling amongst all of us, trying to belong to our local or global communities.
At our school, we know from our discussions and consultations with children and young people that they would welcome more opportunities to explore and discuss these issues.
 

As an International school, we help children reflect and discuss differences and similarities in ways which will help them identify what unites us as well as what makes us different from each other. We encourage children to consider issues of fairness, equality and social justice. Very importantly we place a great emphasis on exploring and developing our common sense of belonging. Such knowledge, skills and understanding helps prepare children and young people to make informed decisions about playing an active role in their school, the wider community and also the global community.
We believe that though the PSHE and Citizenship curriculum and scheme of work is an effective tool in enabling children to develop critical and compassionate thinking skills. By addressing issues of diversity and of justice in a structured way within the classroom, children and young people can be encouraged to think for themselves, to challenge stereotypical views in others and come to believe that they can and do make a difference.
Schools that are very proactive in this work recognize that it encourages children to question views that they may previously have taken for granted. By being offered the tools with which to challenge their own preconceptions they can gain a deeper awareness of our globally shared humanity.
We believe that schools have a duty to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between people of different groups. Every school’s curriculum is required to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental, and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepare pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. (Education Act 2002, Section 78).
So when we talk about how we promote community cohesion, we mean that we must work 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.
All schools whatever the mix of pupils they serve, are responsible for equipping those pupils to live and thrive alongside people from many different backgrounds. For some schools with diverse pupil populations, learn with, from and about each other.
For Highgate, the term ‘community’’ has a number of dimensions including: The school community, the community within which the school is located, the European community and the global community.  
We contribute to community cohesion in a number of ways, including teaching, learning and curriculum – helping children and young people to learn to understand others, to value diversity whilst also promoting shared values, to promote awareness of human rights and to apply and defend them, and to develop the skills of participation and responsible action. Also by equity and excellence – to ensure equal opportunities for all to succeed at the highest level possible, striving to remove barriers to access and participation in learning and wider activities and working to eliminate variations in outcome for different groups. Further, we engage in  extended services – to provide reasonable means for children, young people, their friends and families to interact with people from different backgrounds and build positive relations, including: links with different schools and communities locally and abroad,  and opportunities for pupils, families and the wider community to take part in activities and receive services which build positive interaction and achievement for all groups including our Comenius project and many other affiliations with Universities, projects with European schools as well as our teacher exchanges.  
It would be a fact to explain here that whilst acknowledging the role of schools at the heart of their local communities, it should also be acknowledged that schools face tensions and problems stemming from societal factors outside of their control and which they may not be able to solve. In addition, external factors shape the lives of pupils, including their parents or carers, families and the wider community, and responsibility for community cohesion lies with them too.
We believe strongly that barriers to children achieving a sense of identity and high self-esteem must be elevated and replaced with positive images and polices. For example we would not tolerate lack of respect for others, therefore we ensure that if there is a lack of knowledge and a failure to acknowledge different races, including those of mixed race, are unexplained to all the children in the form of assemblies, drama, PSHE and class reinforcement activities. We ensure that there is appreciation of the child’s own cultural background and that assumptions being made as to a child’s religion or language which can lead to a child feeling embarrassed are discouraged and discussed until there is success in understanding.  Indeed we pride in our children’s awareness about `difference’. We see that there is no resistance to learning to pronounce names correctly, and through topic work, for example different cultures are celebrated. There is no negative effect of stereotyping, misrepresentation of a child’s culture, in our use of language, or teaching resources.
Our hidden curriculum is devoted to this. -  Dr. Maria Theochari
Read 1464 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 July 2014 09:12

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My children are in Highgate for the 5th year and they love it. Academic side is very good, teachers are professional and really love children. There are also many after school and during school activities for general child development. The environment in the school is very friendly and family like. I can see from my kids that they are taught to love learning not just for the grades. Also what I like about the school is that each child is individual and is seen as individual.
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Pubic Speaking: Pubic Speaking was really good for me. It actually did help me a lot. Ok, it didn't get me more self-confidence because i already have too much hehe , but it did teach me a lesson about life.
Alvaro Hergueta Year 8
Pubic Speaking: For me, the public speaking course was not only enlightening, showing me techniques for speaking to a large crowd, small group or even individuals which I was previously oblivious to, but also allowed me to understand how I as an individual needed to prepare for a speech. Finally, the course also helped me control my nerves when speaking publicly. I found the tutorial very helpful, and actually, unexpectedly quite enjoyable. In my opinion, the hands on approach of Mr. Leonidas and the school's administration assisted our improvement greatly.
Chloe Savvidou Year 10
Pubic Speaking: Public speaking was a great experience that allowed me to be truly dependent on myself after practising over and over again, working through the problems that we encountered. It truly was a fun and extremely important life lesson to learn.
Jonny Hart Year 9
Pubic Speaking: It helped me with raising my confidence
Ino Polykarpou Year 8
Pubic Speaking: It helped me with facing my fear and helped teach me how to talk to a group of people and not stress out.
Thusi Rohan Year 8
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Maggie Tomaszewska Year 8
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Enyalios Papadopoulos Year 8
Pubic Speaking: Public speaking has helped me open up to a number of people and share my opinions and helped me overcome my fear of talking to big numbers of people
Alex Christofi Year 8
Pubic Speaking: The public speaking competition helped me feel more courageous when talking to bigger groups of people.
Kyle Fox Year 8
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