We take great care at Robert Arkenstall to ensure all members of our community are treated equally and have the same expectations for respect, nurture and achievement. The following questions and answers exemplify the ways in which we do this in practice.
1. How do we embrace change within our setting and/or the wider community?
a) Partnerships: At Robert Arkenstall School, we partner with parents and carers, to welcome children of all abilities and disabilities. We believe that this partnership enriches our school community, supports children and encourages parents. Everyone in the school is part of this endeavour.
b) Planning: In Personal, Health and Social Education (PHSE) and particularly in Religious Education (RE) there are choices built in to the subject that enable teachers to address the privilege of welcoming children from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds. Through their studies, all children should learn about Christianity and other religions and beliefs represented in the class, school or local community.
2. How do we respect and nurture all children as individuals?
a) Ethos: Every adult and child in the school is encouraged and required to treat every child as an individual. From knowing and using children’s names to using intervention groups to address a variety of needs, the individual child is at the heart of all we do.
b) Serving: Mealtimes are an important part in the life of any family or community, so at Robert Arkenstall, we aim to sit down together and older pupils learn how to serve younger pupils helping make their lunchtimes special.
c) Partnering: Children who come into the school in reception are paired with Year 6 children, who act both as play buddies and mentors in dedicated buddy time. Children who come in to other year groups are paired with suitable peers until the newcomer finds their feet.
3. How do we support and inspire everyone to embed equality and diversity?
a) Supporting: We respond to children’s needs in order to guide and encourage them to live and work together in our community. We also encourage positive responses to events outside the community, supporting appeals for e.g. Children in Need, Cancer Research, Comic Relief, Operation Christmas Child.
b) Modelling: We work proactively to inspire and lead children, providing them with good examples from inside and outside our community. Visits and visitors are particularly helpful in this respect, and we want every child to explore many other points of view.
c) Media: we use reflection time focussing on images in the news from appropriate news sources which encourages a positive curiosity and respect for others and their cultures.
d) Planning: Religious Education, History and Personal, Health and Social Education are all used to ensure that equality and diversity issues are tackled systematically, including anti-bullying.
e) Preparing: All children are prepared for the reception and inclusion of children with specific disabilities into the school community. Children are taught that the inclusion of children with disabilities is a shared responsibility.
4. How do we demonstrate high expectations for all children to achieve well?
a) Code of conduct: Each year the values embedded in our code of conduct are shared by classes who write their own charter. We emphasise the multi-directional aspect of this code, and the way it supports every child’s education through good relationships.
b) Modelling: We believe that it of critical importance that every member of our school community subscribes to the ethos, irrespective of age or status. The way in which members of staff and children relate to each other in the school helps them to become co-workers in this process. Children see adults in school modelling the same values of good conduct towards each other in a spirit of friendly professional co-operation.
c) 4R’s Learning Dispositions. We support all children from Reception upwards to reflect upon themselves as learners who need to show: resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and be reciprocal as part of a whole community of learners. Giving them better understanding of the skills of learning enables them to support each other to achieve well.
d) Rewarding: We use a system of merit certificates that are given in recognition of particular effort, improvement or incidents of positive behaviour that members of staff have noted.
5. How do we support all parents/carers fairly to embed equality of opportunity for everyone?
a) Modelling: If we are to support others, then we must model this support (see 9).
b) Disproportionate support: This enables us to target specific help where it is most needed, in order to enable children and their families to have a reasonable chance of success.
c) Use of pupil premium funding: In using this funding judiciously, we are able to support the most needy children, whilst seeking to benefit many others by the provision of resources, groups or clubs.
6. How do we provide resources and use images to embed equality and diversity in our setting?
a) Religious Education: Resources are used to show people from different cultures in both traditional and more familiar dress. This is particularly important when people of faith adhere to dress codes which distinguish them. We use images/ resources from both British and foreign origin to emphasise that religious faith does not belong within any individual country’s boundaries.
b) General resources: Stories and pictures are chosen with care to show a wide range of difference and to reinforce beliefs in equality and the importance of diversity.
c) Website: This is used to explain our ethos and inclusive policies.
d) Staff: We welcome the contribution of members of staff who have lived abroad and are able to share that with the children, or who have family members from a different culture.
7. How do we keep our records up to date?
We record all incidents of prejudice (race, colour, creed, gender, orientation) using the PRIDE website and all incidents of bullying in books in the Head’s office. Just as importantly, we talk to any child involved and also to parents. We keep a particular note of any child who appears in the book more than once, either as perpetrator or as victim, and work hard to explain actions and consequences, even to very young children. Our records include support group methods for caring for those who report bullying.
8. How do we represent ‘equality and diversity’ in our planning and policies?
As a predominately white British community, the curriculum topics and subjects are carefully designed to have a positive impact on children’s cultural development. We plan enrichment activities through clubs, visits and visitors to help the children understand their place in the world and prepare for life in modern Britain.
9. How do we model good practice to one another, to children, to families and volunteer helpers?
a) Sharing our concerns confidentially: Members of staff are able regularly to share concerns about children and families who may need extra support and care at particular times.
b) Volunteer helpers: Our helpers are all checked, supervised and given a volunteers’ leaflet that helps them to understand good practice, expectations and to report concerns sensitively.
c) Photographs: We support carers’/parents’ right to ask that their child is not photographed in school. We follow the guidance on use of photographic images and ask parents to respect the privacy of others in taking pictures at school events. Where there is an issue with a photograph for educational purposes, we make sure that there is a conversation with the parent or carer.