The Education and Inspections Act (EIA) 2006 requires the governing bodies of maintained schools to promote community cohesion, under a new duty which comes in to force from 1st September 2007. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) issued guidance on the duty on 19th July 2007 after consultation on the draft guidance in May and June 2007. OFSTED inspections of the contribution that schools make to community cohesion started in September 2008. As a result of this, schools now have a duty to include community cohesion in their SIP and SEF from 2008.
The new duty to promote community cohesion builds on existing legal duties on school governing bodies under the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000(RRA). It also links to section 78 of the 2002 Education Act which states that the curriculum for all maintained schools should “promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils of the school and of society, and prepare students at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life”.
Community cohesion means that we are working towards a society where there is a common vision and a sense of belonging by all communities. A society where the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society where similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society where strong and positive relationships are forged. These relationships should be developed by staff and students in schools, parents or carers at home and within the wider school community.
- Common Vision – our vision is that, through exploring and teaching Christian beliefs and values in a wide range of settings, we will ensure that community cohesion is at the heart of all we do.
- Sense of Belonging – We will respect the rights of individuals and demonstrate responsibilities within our school environment and our wider community through our corporate ‘guardianship’ activities which underpin the way we care for our school, local environment, community and each other.
- Life Opportunities – Feeder primary schools have a crucial role to create and develop opportunities, to enable every student and young person to achieve their potential. Schools can make a long term contributions to 3 community cohesion through everyday school life, and Extended Services provision. This is evaluated by our governors in school and in the community. Our partnership with other Church schools and our local cluster of schools supports our view that we are educating pupils for life and not just for our specific phase of education.
- Northern Saints Church of England VA Primary School welcome their duties under the Race Relations Act 1976 as amended by the Race Relations Amendment Act 2002, the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005, and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 as amended by the Equality Act 2006.
- Northern Saints Church of England VA Primary School welcome our duty under the Education and Inspections Act to promote community cohesion.
- Northern Saints Church of England VA Primary School recognises that the aforesaid duties are essential for achieving the best outcomes for every child. All staff will ensure that they correspond with international human rights standards as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights for the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and the Human Rights Act 1998.
Moving Forward – Action Plan
Northern Saints Church of England VA Primary School will achieve community cohesion through:
- Teaching and Learning – teaching students to understand and respect others, promoting discussion about values and cultural diversity. All students will have access to a rich and broad curriculum, which supports high standards of achievement and attainment.
- Understanding equality and encouraging generational participation – providing opportunities to interact with each other and with people form a diverse range of religious cultures and beliefs. All staff and Governors have the knowledge and ability to promote common values based on mutual respect.
- Extended Services – developing a varied menu of activities underpinned by the Christian ethos of the school. We will promote curriculum based collaborative work to ensure that students work together on joint projects and support transition.
- A strong and successful Extended Services provision will ensure that:
– Childcare and out of school projects support the needs of parents and students.
– Multi agency working is common practice and supports staff, students and parent / carers.
– Community use of school facilities is encouraged.
– Information and guidance for parent / carers are made available or signposted to appropriate local and national support agencies through the FIS (Family Information Service)
As part our school mission statement all staff are expected to:
- Promote Christian values of respect for others
- Promote an inclusive and collaborative ethos in their classroom.
- Deal with any prejudice related incidents as they arise,
- Identify and challenge bias stereotyping within the classroom and the wider community.
- Support all students without prejudice.
- Respect the religious beliefs and practice of all staff, students, parents / carers, stakeholders and members of the wider community.
Roles and Responsibilities
- The Governing body is responsible for ensuring that the school complies with the aforesaid legislation (see ‘legal issues’).
- The Headteacher is responsible for implementing the policy. Ensuring all staff are aware of their responsibilities.
Staff Development and Training Northern Saints Church of England VA Primary School will ensure that all staff – teaching and associate – will receive appropriate CPD (safeguarding) to ensure community cohesion is delivered within school and the wider community.