Tags: Case study | Classroom Teacher | Curriculum Manager | Developing Citizenship Project | Director of Studies | PSHE & Citizenship Coordinator | Subject Leader | Teaching & Learning Coordinator
Global citizenship has radically altered the Key Stage 3 curriculum at Broadoak High School.
Involvement in the Developing Citizenship Project has had a very positive impact on citizenship provision at Broadoak High School. The project has enabled the school to radically alter curriculum provision at Key Stage 3, providing resources and units of work.
We have been able to introduce a ‘Global Day’ for Key Stage 4 students, which promotes citizenship as a subject and gets students involved in tackling thorny issues surrounding debt, international trade and sustainability.
Fundamentally the project allowed for the involvement of a wide variety of people in the school community. All staff were trained to understand the way in which their own teaching can complement explicit citizenship provision. Departments have forged links, with each other, with parents and with outside agencies.
A lasting record of our involvement in the project is the painted ‘graffiti mural’ on the side of the Sports Centre. This mural records the involvement of students from every year group in a project examining racial and cultural diversity, and promotes the value of tolerance to every visitor to the Sports Centre.
Focus and activities
The primary focus of the project at Broadoak was to raise awareness of issues surrounding racial and cultural diversity in a predominantly white community.
The project outcomes were very specifically tailored to meet the needs of Broadoak High School. Firstly there was a focus on developing the delivery of Citizenship at Key Stage 4 to meet curriculum needs as identified by an internal audit. Secondly the project was designed to avoid highly visual, low impact activities. Instead a range of six key activities were implemented which would impact upon all members of the school community (all year groups, staff, parents, neighbours) and will in most cases become an integral part of the school calendar through Schemes of Work or activity outcomes.
The six key activities were chosen for the variety of ways in which they provide for the educational needs of students at Broadoak High School. Notably the project outcomes provide students in both Key Stages with the knowledge about the global community, while allowing them to develop their research and communication skills and encouraging them to become actively involved in their own part of this global community. Just what the National Curriculum ordered!
Implementing the project
Resources, resources, buy me a text book. Fill my department with books and new posters. Black people, white people, maps and world cultures.
Let my pupils see, just what I mean.
A scheme of work. One for Year 8. One for Year 11. Involve local Gypsies. Lets all get involved. What don’t we like? What can we change? Lets get stuck in.
Show what can be done.
‘Global Day’, and just for the old ones? Keeping costs low, and not being too noisy! That’s how to be sure,
It happens next year!
Tricky one next. The staff. If they teach every pupil, They teach citizenship too! Funds to all staff. For a book? For a pack? Or a fold-out thingy,
To hang on the wall.
Now remember that school, the one I went to in Spain, Well now we don’t just send letters, about brown hair and jam. Now when we e-mail, we send pictures of school,
We tell them about living here and they write about there …
Linking departments? Music and R.E.? French and art? Bare with me now … Lets paint a wall! Each class has a job, Each pupil a hand. Colours and cultures,
United they stand!
At times the workload seemed daunting. Trying to implement all of these strands, ensuring the funders were happy and knew what we were doing and keeping a record of what we had spent and what we had left.
The key issue though, was that we weren’t just completing a one year project. This was a project that had an eye to the future. Every part of it was built to be sustainable, to be repeated next year, and the one after that. This meant once we got our head around the planning for this year, we had structures in place to support citizenship provision every year.
Critical to this process, were the staff at the Developing Citizenship Project. If they had insisted on following their own agendas, the project could have failed, or floundered without any relevance to Broadoak and its community. Instead, they listened, they argued, suggested and took risks. In this way they were able to move our plans for using the funds to directly fund a series of dull citizenship lessons. They took our original vision off the straight and narrow and into the realms of exploring just what the teachers and students at our school were capable of.
It was at this point that we realised the hard work wasn’t a product of the project, and it wasn’t coming from the citizenship curriculum. What made our project special that those two areas were being brought together. It became apparent that we were trying to develop a good project, but we were also taking the opportunity to rediscover and vastly alter the way we delivered citizenship for our students. In that light, the project became a tool, which made it easier, not harder to develop the kind of curriculum our students deserved.
For example, before the project, our provision at Key Stage 4 was vague and missing some vital pieces. The introduction of a ‘Global Day’ for Year 11 pupils, allowed us to tie together the work we were doing around school and make sure that we covered the areas of the National Curriculum that our own audits told us we were missing. And did the students benefit? Of course they did!
Broadoak High School has a reputation for having a positive ethos and sense of community, for welcoming visitors and showing respect to individuals and communities when we go out on trips. What we wanted from the project, was a way to challenge and involve members of our community in their understanding of their place in the world.
So how have the students done? How involved have members of the local community become? How much chance have we had to challenge stereotypes? Have staff understood their role in widening participation and encouraging responsible action?
To be honest, there is still some way to go; but this was never meant to be a quick fix. The primary focus was to raise awareness of issues surrounding racial and cultural diversity. If we are to make a genuine difference to the deep rooted opinions of people, this is a challenging goal for even the most well meaning of staff. The key though is that the project has not finished. In fact it is only after the first two years that we will have in place all of the sustainable elements of a truly globalised curriculum.
From now on, every Year 7 student will have access to improved text books and will see images of successful black and Asian men and women.
From now on, every Year 8 pupil will be involved in a project where they are encouraged to make a difference in their community.
Every Year 9 pupil will be able to forge links with friends in other countries, sharing experiences and having access to the wider world.
Year 10 pupils will have the benefit of trained staff, encouraging them to understand their role in the wider world, or maybe getting them to work with parents and youth groups to produce an art installation or drama production.
In Year 11, every pupil will attend a ‘Global Day’, tasting ‘fair trade’ chocolate or playing ‘the debt game’, to decide what is fair, in an unfair world.
We are yet to see the full impact of the project. Come back in five years time though, and I can guarantee; members of our community will have improved knowledge and skills, allowing them to better participate in the global community to which we all belong.
This work © Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK and UNICEF (UK), 2007. Part of the Developing Citizenship project.
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