Community Cohesion at St Martin’s CE Primary School
As a school, we recognise the importance of developing community cohesion. Through our ethos and curriculum, we promote discussion of a common sense of identity and support diversity, showing pupils how different communities can be united by shared values and common experiences.
What is community cohesion?
By community cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a 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.
By creating opportunities for pupils’ achievement and enabling every child to achieve their potential, we can make a significant contribution to long term community cohesion.
What does community mean from our perspective?
For our school, the term ‘community’ has a number of dimensions including:
- The school community – the children we serve, their parents, and families, the school’s staff the Christian Ethos and Community Group, and community users of the school’s facilities and services;
- The community within which our school is located – the school in its geographical community and the people who live or work in the area. This applies not just to the immediate neighbourhood but also to the local authority and town within which our school is located;
- The UK community - all schools are by definition part of this community;
- The global community – formed by the EU and international links.
In addition, our school creates communities – for example, by networking with similar or different schools, by working with schools that are part of the St Barnabas Academy Trust, and by working collaboratively in clusters and in other models of partnership.
How does our school contribute towards community cohesion?
As a starting point, we build community cohesion by promoting equality of opportunity and inclusion for different groups of pupils within our school. But alongside this we also examine any inequalities and encourage a strong respect for diversity. We are responsible for equipping our pupils to live and thrive alongside people from many different backgrounds. We promote shared values and encourage our pupils to actively engage with others to understand what they all hold in common.
Our school’s contribution to community cohesion can be grouped under the three following headings:
- Teaching, learning and curriculum – helping children 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.
- 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 outcomes for different groups.
- Engagement and extended services – to provide reasonable means for children and their friends and families to interact with people from different backgrounds and build positive relations: including links with different schools and communities and the provision of extended services with 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.
What do we need to consider in promoting community cohesion?
Under the headings set out above, the approach we take includes a range of activities, some of which take place within our own school, whilst others take place between different schools or between schools, parents and local and wider communities.
What does the school provide within its teaching, learning and curriculum provision?
As an effective school we have a high standard of teaching, learning and curriculum provision that supports high standards of attainment, promotes shared values and builds pupils’ understanding of the diversity that surrounds them. We encourage children to recognise similarities and appreciate different cultures, religions, beliefs, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. There are high expectations of success, with all pupils expected and encouraged by teachers and parents to achieve their potential. We provide opportunities across the curriculum to promote shared values and help pupils to value differences and to challenge prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping. We continue to develop a programme of curriculum based activities whereby pupils’ understanding of community and diversity is enriched through fieldwork, visits and visitors. We promote British Values and Britishness.
How does the school promote equity and excellence?
We already have a focus on securing high standards of attainment for all pupils from all ethnic backgrounds, and of different socio-economic statuses, abilities and interests, ensuring that pupils are treated with respect and supported to achieve their full potential. We analyse assessment results to keep track of the relative performance of different groups and to tackle underperformance by any particular group.
We have effective approaches in place to deal with bullying and monitor carefully whether pupils from different groups are more likely to be victims or be disciplined.
How does the school engage with its communities?
School to school
- We work very closely with our partner schools in the St Barnabas Academy Trust. The children have attended a number of sporting, religious and academic events where they meet and interact.
- We have developed excellent links with the local secondary schools. Teachers have come in to the school to support teaching and learning and pupils make use of facilities at the secondary school.
- We also participate in activities within the Local Authority such as sport, music and festivals, which all provide a means for our pupils to interact with pupils from other schools.
School to parents and the community
The school has excellent partnership activities with parents and the local and wider community which include:
- A thriving team of volunteers from the parent body and local community.
- Organised activities for the community: eg Christmas Fayre and Summer Fayre.
- Contributing to community events
- Hosting community events
- Bringing community representatives into school to work with the pupils or to support learning and clubs
- Visits to local places of worship and the local police and fire brigade.
- Local engagement through links with community groups and organisations, enabling them to play a role in the school and encouraging pupils to make a positive contribution in the local area: eg library summer reading programme.
- Ensuring that the pupil voice is heard and able to effect change through the school council, Learning Detectives, Christian Ethos and Community Group in a way that facilitates their participation and ability to make a difference in school.
- Maintaining strong links and multi-agency working between the school and other local agencies, such as the police, social care and health professionals.
- Having secondary school pupils on work placement.