Our theme was ‘Rich World, Poor World’. How do we open the eyes of children to equality issues?

At Chantry High School we were excited to be involved in the Developing Citizenship project. Our intention was to develop a curriculum that provides students with the opportunity to explore their role as social beings and increase their awareness of the ethics and values which underpin a well-run global community.

Teachers wrote schemes of work based on themes, in which children were encouraged to see the connections between the global and the local. Through our involvement with the Developing Citizenship project the theme ‘Rich world: Poor world’ was developed with key social issues in mind. We concentrated our efforts on two groups in Year 7, to enable us to channel resources effectively and monitor the outcome.

Connecting the Global and the Local

We are all members of a world community that is diverse and exciting, but at the same time unfair and unequal. It is our responsibility to respond to the challenges of ignorance and intolerance to make the world a better place. We chose to do this by promoting knowledge and understanding of:

  • Social justice and equity
  • Diversity 
  • Globalisation and interdependence
  • Sustainable development 
  • Peace and conflict

Schemes of work were developed to encourage children to think critically and argue effectively so that they can challenge injustice and inequality. Moreover, we wanted our students to experience citizenship through active participation. 

Chantry High School’s Developing Citizenship Project

Initially, to inspire the children and to give them a basic awareness of the issues on which we could build, we were fortunate enough to work with Dynamix, a Welsh company that teaches children how to set up and run their own co-operative enterprise. They were taught how to respect other people, develop co-operation and how to resolve conflict. The students responded enthusiastically and we had a highly successful Trade Fair where students traded their goods, such as hand-made cards, paperweights and Fair Trade cakes.

With their motivation and spirits high, students were ready to explore the theme ‘Rich world: Poor world’ in greater depth through subject strands. 

Focusing on Ghana and Britain, students explored the diversity of the ‘Global Community’. Through careful planning and communication, teachers developed a web of learning where global connections between subjects became evident. Work in History reinforced studies in Art and English, and problem-solving tasks completed in ICT, Maths and Science supported ideas developed in Geography, RE and Music. Representation from all curriculum areas in this project was imperative if we were going to succeed in embedding Global Citizenship across all year groups. 

How did we introduce Global Citizenship into the Curriculum?

Students explored:

  • How trade and the wealth of nations in the past depended greatly on human bondage. They developed an understanding of wrongs done in the past and an awareness of cultural diversity, social justice and equity. Students researched and planned an anti-slavery campaign. 
    The differing opinions as to whether we should give aid to poorer countries. Students debated and reflected critically on their own and other peoples’ beliefs and values. 
  • The similarities and differences between life in Chantry and life in Ghana. They appreciated the fact that they had more in common with Ghanaian children than they had first thought. 
  • The journey from cocoa bean to chocolate bar. An exploration into how countries depend upon one another to fulfil commercial needs. Students planned a Fair trade campaign and designed and made their own chocolate boxes.  
  • Global diversity through investigating African cultural roots. Students researched, designed and made their own African masks and explored the theme of social injustice through the musical ‘Blood Brothers’. 
  • Practical solutions to the problems of the poor world. This involved students working out a family budget for a Ghanaian farmer, (before and after joining a Fair trade co-operative) and analysing and comparing food and nutrition in Ghana and Britain. A statistical project was undertaken to appreciate the difference between rich and poor countries. 

Schemes of work took into account the different learning styles of individuals and placed an emphasis on student participation.

The intention of the project has been to imbue students with a sense of their own identity and self-esteem and empathy towards others. They have been taught not only to value and respect the diversity of our Global Community but also to believe that people, if committed to improving the environment and sustainable development, can make a difference!

We can all make a difference.

Global Citizenship and Curriculum Change 

Following the completion of the above module with the two Year 7 groups, the challenge facing Chantry was to embed Global Citizenship into the school-wide curriculum and to make an impact on the ethos of the school.

The main strength of our project was that it had representation from all curriculum areas; therefore staff can feed back to colleagues about Global Citizenship and where it can be delivered. The resources purchased are available in the school library for staff to use when planning and delivering lessons. We also hope to include an INSET session in the near future to encourage staff to teach Global Citizenship and promote active participation for our students.

This ensures a lasting benefit of our involvement with the project.

The following changes have already been made by many curriculum areas, for example:

  • The English Department has incorporated Fairtrade issues into their Year 10 ‘Transactional’ writing unit. 
  • The Geography Department has written a new module entitled ‘Development and Global Citizenship’. 
  • The Art Department has developed a thematic unit around African culture to celebrate diversity. 
  • A Global Citizenship dimension has been added to the Year 8 History scheme of work with students considering slavery within a contemporary context. 

One of our main intentions was to look beyond Chantry and share the successful teaching and learning of Global Citizenship that took place with other schools. A member of the Geography department delivered a session on Global Citizenship at a County INSET conference for Heads of Geography. Resource packs were made available for teachers to take away and try in their schools. 

Direct links were made with students from another Ipswich school during a Global Citizenship Day aimed at Gifted and Talented students. The focus of the day was on Ghana, and learning what unites us rather than what divides us. This helps to challenge students’ preconceived notions of African children.

Bringing about Whole School Change

Current school policies on citizenship tend to focus on our place within the local community. Our experience with the Developing Citizenship project has encouraged us broaden our horizons and consider the global community. We have examined our School Improvement Plan and identified areas in which global citizenship can be incorporated into the ethos of the school. Raising awareness of global citizenship has already been achieved through the following:

  • An article in the School Magazine celebrating achievements of the DGCP. It is our intention that the magazine will be a forum to regularly share Global Citizenship at Chantry High. 
  • A Global Citizenship notice board has been displayed by Student Reception to highlight themes and work undertaken in the school. 
    Students from the DGCP have shared what they have learned in Year Assemblies. 
  • Chantry High School sponsors an African child. News is regularly shared via the school magazine CHM. 
  • Students organised a Fairtrade stall where they sold FT.
  • DanceEast visited Chantry and performed traditional African Dances.
  • Students who attended the UEA conference are in the process of organising a whole school Global Citizenship conference.

Following our involvement in the DGCP Chantry is including Citizenship as part of the school’s Specialist Status bid for Humanities.

Introducing Global Citizenship Successfully 

  • Representation from all subject areas.
  • Involvement of SMT. 
  • Forge links with local developmental charities.
  • INSET to define Global Citizenship and how it can be delivered.
  • Collect a wide range of teaching resources and make them available in a central area. 
  • Include opportunities for Active Participation.