Tags: Case study | Classroom Teacher | Curriculum Manager | Developing Citizenship Project | Director of Studies | PSHE & Citizenship Coordinator | Subject Leader | Teaching & Learning Coordinator | Teaching Tips
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An anti-racism day held in 2002 brought together visiting speakers, specialist workshops, interested staff and visitors from NFC. This became a model for our first global citizenship event.

Flegg High School is a rural high school (12-16 years) in East Norfolk. It is quite isolated and students come from Martham itself or are bussed in form small villages nearby. There has been a will to take on new initiatives at Flegg with the support of Head, Senior Management and staff. 

The decision to be involved in the Developing Citizenship project was not a difficult one.

Public transport to Norwich (the nearest city) is poor and most students look to Gt. Yarmouth for shopping, further education and leisure. Great Yarmouth has an established Greek Cypriot community and more recently Portuguese, East European and asylum seeking communities. The School itself is very largely mono-ethnic with students being born in the area or coming from outside, particularly from the Greater London area.

How we began – playing to our strengths

We decided to build on current work in Geography, RE, Textiles, Music and Art and extend it across the curriculum. Personal and professional interests focused on India and India Week was born, the highlight being an off timetable day of workshops and activities across the curriculum for Year 8 students.

Practicalities

Money definitely helps – the grant made available to us allowed subject areas to buy resources and buy in specialist help providing expertise of long term benefit. Contact with the local development education centre (NEAD) provided us with useful links and some workshop facilitators. Circulating all staff in the school resulted in new ideas, new contacts, new enthusiasms and some interesting cross curricular working.

India Week

India Week came in the second half of the Summer Term, post-GCSE, not ideal for following up or evaluation purposes, but on a small site with a fairly full calendar and limited accommodation we had to be practical. It was decided to focus on one Year group (Year 8) approx. 200 students and through the event have an impact on the school as a whole. In the event, many other students from Student Council and Years 9 and 10 did join in with enthusiasm to support and facilitate workshops, accompany visitors and look after visiting students from other schools.

Preparation

Subjects “prepared” Year 8 students for India Week. Geography focused on India and Development Issues, History looked at links between India and Britain, work continued in RE on the main religions of India and Textiles, Music, Art and Cookery continued to work on India themes. The Languages Dept. brought in Hindi and Urdu speakers and the Science Dept. focussed on non-Western and, specifically Indian, contributions to scientific thought.

A visit was organised to the Hindu Temple at Neasden and students helped staff to shop for spices and other ingredients for the India Day cookery workshops. A member of the English Dept. prepared an India Quiz using the Library. The Canteen Staff prepared a special Indian lunch for the day.

Events

Year 8 students were divided into mixed ability teams of 25 using a Mapingo game based on the geography of India, organised by the Geography Department on the afternoon prior to India day itself.  It was essential to acquaint students with the geography of the continent and begin to discuss some key issues. 

The mixed ability settings gave students new working groups and encouraged teamwork and cooperation. 

A diagram of the workshops held on India day shows a variety of activities across the curriculum and also where we bought in special help and expertise. The music workshops were timetabled for the following day owing to both space considerations and prior commitments of the performer; students from other year groups and GCSE were able to participate.

Involving the school and the community

Year 8 students were a target group for the activities but students from all year groups helped.  Invitations were sent to local middle schools and other local high schools; both sent students and teachers to take part. 

We welcomed the Lord and Lady Mayoress of Yarmouth, school governors, members of the local Asian Society, representatives of the local education authority, community police liaison and local health workers as well as the press.

A key event kicked off the day with a talk from a small locally based charity involved in a variety of projects in the slum area of Madurai in southern India. 

Outcomes

The most important outcome was to involve staff from all departments in focusing on the possibilities of exploring, investigating, celebrating and engaging with global issues in the curriculum and encouraging them to add consideration of global dimensions to their subject areas.

The whole school, including valuable support staff – LSA’s, kitchen, caretaking and technical – took part with enthusiasm and interest.  Although primarily aimed at Year 8, there was plenty of active participation, interest and enthusiasm from all year groups.

The issue which provided greatest impact was the talk by Rev Pat Atkinson about the work of the Cooper Atkinson Trust in southern India.  Students faced hard issues of inequalities, social injustice and poverty. Their practical response was to donate football shirts and equipment for Pat to take out to India and they also decided to donate the proceeds of an Arts evening to her work. 

Staff and governors continue to want to make a contribution and have begun funding for a medical centre in Madurai.  An evening event raised over a £1000 for the centre. This active charity link will continue as part of our efforts to understand inequalities and to try to be proactive. It is hoped that some Year 11 students and staff will visit Madurai with Pat in future. The personal is after all political and personal experience must be so much more important and valuable than textbooks, lessons and videos.

A second link was set up through an ex-member of staff with Nepal.  The British School is a fee paying school in Kathmandu attended by wealthy Nepalese and children of Westerners living in Nepal.  Year 9 students have developed e-mail links and exchanges photos sharing experiences and describing their lives in Martham and Kathmandu.  A further link with a children’s home in Kathmandu showed students another view of life in Nepal.  It was decided to raise money and also to buy Christmas presents and send letters and cards as part of a developing link.

Critique

In practical terms, a focus day/week was an excellent way to begin to raise the global citizenship profile.  India Day was regarded as a great success and it was decided to follow it up with a similar day focusing on the Caribbean and South America in 2004. 

Staff who have participated want to continue these focus days and students have also expressed a wish for them to continue. However, there is a danger that a focus event detracts from the continuous discussion of global issues across curriculum subjects throughout the year and it cannot be seen as a substitute for this. 

While introducing and celebrating different cultures, traditions and lifestyles, key issues must also be raised and addressed – for example inequalities between the West and “developed” countries and the developing, historic injustices, fair trade, environmental issues, human rights and world debt.

Key issues concerning global citizenship need to be written into workschemes across subjects and acted on. It is useful to audit or map where these contributions are so that “idea areas” can be shared.  We still need to do this as the Project comes to an end.

The follow up event

Caribbean and South America Day 2004 was again organised as an off-timetable event for Year 8.  We felt the formula we had used before worked well for us but we made a conscious effort this time to try and flag up and focus on some key issues.  For example, slavery and social injustice were addressed via a Capoeira (dance/martial arts) workshop.  Images of the Caribbean were considered in Drama – the holiday brochure images and stereotypes of people and place came together with some discussion of the realities. 

Geography workshops dealt with fair trade through the trading game and focused on Caribbean bananas. A second workshop looked at Montserrat and issues of environmental catastrophe. Workshops in IT looked at fair trade issues and how awareness could be raised in the school. This linked with art which designed and manufactured fair trade tee-shirts for students to wear.  Mask making, textiles and cookery dealt with celebrations of Caribbean life but the underlying idea of carnival stimulated discussion of past social injustices, slavery and racism.

The event was a success but again came late in the summer term, making follow-up difficult. In order to make the most of these events and keep the momentum going, it would be better to find a date earlier in the year but there are considerable practical constraints to overcome here.

Advice and top tips to get started

  • Enlist SMT support
  • Play to your strengths
  • Develop “core” supporters
  • Look at a budget (specialist help bought in costs about £200 a day)
  • Nothing motivates subject leaders like extra cash to develop their creative ideas
  • Enlist help of student council in planning and execution
  • Publicise your ideas, and network
  • Be prepared to find a co-ordinator
  • Evaluate the event and ask for feedback from staff, students, SMT and visitors
  • Audit your work schemes and look for shared areas of interest

The future

“Active citizenship” with a global dimension at Flegg will focus on a link being established at present with the Starahe School in Nairobi. The link has again been established with the help of an ex-member of staff who worked at this school in its early years. Starahe has ideas and practice to share with schools in the UK in return for sponsorship of a student. 

We are looking to exchange ideas and practice and we recognise that we have a lot to learn. The school has recently raised money through an annual charity event to begin sponsoring a student and we plan to exchange visits with staff and students.

The Developing Citizenship project has allowed us to give a global dimension to the school and to the curriculum. It has changed the landscape by showing staff and students that it is possible to engage in issues. 

Staff and students want global citizenship focus days to continue and the next step has to be examining our every day practice to see that we embed global citizenship throughout the curriculum and school life. We have tried to make links with other schools and a local charity because we believe that personal contact is a key issue in learning to understand others.

This work © Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK and UNICEF (UK), 2007. Part of the Developing Citizenship project.

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