Global citizenship links can help increase children’s and young people’s knowledge of the wider world. The Manchester Healthy Schools Partnership created a close working relationship with three schools in Kabwe, Zambia.
What is a Healthy School?
A healthy school is one that is successful in helping pupils to do their best and build on their achievements. It is committed to ongoing improvement and development. It promotes physical and emotional health by providing accessible and relevant information and equipping pupils with the skills and attitudes to make informed decisions about their health. Such a school will work in partnership with the local community to create an ethos of shared learning and development.
The strategic aims of the National Healthy Schools Programme are to contribute to:
- the reduction of health inequalities
- school improvement
Why ‘Healthy Schools and the Global Dimension to Citizenship’?
With the overarching aims of the Healthy Schools Partnership it was important to partner the DEC in the development of the project. It looked as though it would provide additional support, value and another dimension to the active citizenship and pupil participation aspects of the Healthy Schools criteria.
Underlying principles of healthy schools
Against criteria, the schools carry out an audit to determine good practice that is already in existence and where further work and development needs to take place.
Central to the development of a healthy school is an ethos that embraces true partnership with all who work and learn in the school and the wider community. The ethos of the schools therefore will provide a supportive learning backdrop for active pupil participation in citizenship both within the schools and the community.
Pupils also need the skills and the confidence to be involved in decision- making in the school via effective class councils, schools councils, debates, forums, etc. This will increase knowledge, change attitudes and develop skills in decision making about personal health issues
The impact of the work to become a healthy school means that the whole school community is involved, working, learning and affecting change together.
Manchester has a diverse population, bringing with it richness and learning that can be shared to develop a greater tolerance and understanding. Although this fact is evident, there is a high percentage of young people who do not travel out of their locality or out of Manchester. Therefore the development of the pupils’ understanding of their roles as citizens within a local and global context is sometimes limited to stereotypes and some media portrayal.
Therefore, through our partnership with schools in Zambia we aimed to:
- raise awareness of health issues and the impact on children’s education in both partnership countries
- look at different types of public health campaigns around HIV and Aids for the purpose of mutual understanding
- increase the children’s understanding of education for sustainable development
- raise awareness of how cultural norms impact on the health of young people
- encourage young people to take responsibility for their own health and safety with the support of local government and agencies.
Reciprocal visits have been made to the schools in Kabwe and to a number of schools in Manchester. This has enabled a much more personal involvement and interest by pupils and teachers, in turn leading to understanding about the public health issues of the lack of clean water, famine and HIV and Aids in Zambia.
Building on this work
The Healthy Schools principles and criteria provide a framework that enables linkages and connections to be made. Therefore work in schools is not carried out in isolation. provided that the leadership and management are effective. The underlying philosophy and aims of the school are such that the ethos is one of partnership, with good communication and participation for all pupils.
Working with the DEC and the three major children’s charities has added value to the thinking and the work within the Manchester Healthy Schools Partnership. These new relationships have used quality debates to build upon pupil participation and voice using Human Rights, diversity and identity to support teachers in citizenship and PSHE. We have taken issues such as food, the health implications of obesity, what we eat and drink and related them to global issues, including Fair Trade and famine.
- The Manchester Healthy Schools Partnership now expects all the secondary schools to work on a theme of ESD/ citizenship with a global dimension
- The relationship between the DEC and Healthy Schools is supportive and vibrant.
- Healthy Schools is about partnership working and this is an excellent partnership, which adds value to the work.
- Healthy schools is attempting to develop in young people the idea of following a healthy lifestyle, with knowledge and understanding for a sustainable world. This can only be achieved in partnership with a range of other organisations like the DEC and the charities.
- The impact of this work will be clearly shown in the assessment of the five outcomes from Every Child Matters 2004.
Healthy Schools supports the development of active citizenship, so therefore participation locally and understanding the global effect helps the young people to understand their health issues within the diverse world in which we live in Manchester.
As a consequence of a successful bid to DIFID and fundraising by pupils in schools, the Manchester Healthy Schools Partnership is able to have a two-week exchange for three teachers with our partner schools in Kabwe. The teachers will spend a large proportion of time in the partner schools. During this visit we will also develop – alongside the DEC and the charities – a global citizenship pack of information and resources on the already identified themes of water, food, HIV and poverty, from the Manchester and Kabwe perspectives.