We believe that equality at our school should permeate all aspects of school life and is the responsibility of every member of the school and wider community. Every member of the school community should feel safe, secure, valued and of equal worth. At Faringdon Infant School, equality is a key principle for treating all people the same irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, disability, religious beliefs/faith tradition, sexual orientation, age or any other of the protected characteristics (Single Equalities Act 2010).
We welcome our duties under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations in relation to age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual identity.
We welcome our duty under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 to promote community cohesion.
We recognise these duties reflect international human rights standards as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act 1998.
We also recognise our responsibilities under the Prevent duty (July 2015) to teach a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes “the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.” This includes actively promoting fundamental British values.
At Faringdon Infant School we aim for our children to become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance, regardless of background. We promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs. The school provides a safe place for children to ask questions, discuss issues of importance and learn about viewpoints to balance their ideas within a supportive and guiding framework.
The idea of democracy starts in the nursery class and runs through the school as children have many opportunities to vote to gain a group consensus about what happens in school. This happens regularly over such things as choices for books to be read, Golden Time activities and play equipment.
Children’s ideas and opinions are valued and treated with respect. In the Foundation Stage, children listen to each other in key group discussions and circle time by turn-taking, sharing and collaborating. They agree favourite choices, classroom rules and listen to each other’s talking homework. They are given opportunities to develop an enquiring mind in an atmosphere where questions are valued.
In years 1 and 2, this is extended to include open discussions, debates and viewpoints so that children develop their ability to respect different ideas and opinions. They are also involved in making decisions - how class budgets were spent, helping to choose equipment and books for the book corner for example. The school also took part in a campaign to encourage MPs to support the notion that all children in the world should be able to attend school; children wrote letters to argue their case. Children have also taken part in surveys e.g. maths learning and their views of the school. Staff have adapted what they do in response, showing that their opinions matter.
We have a School Council which consists of Year 2 children who are nominated and voted for by their classmates. They meet to discuss issues that relate to school life such as the choice of “Buddy Bench” for the school. They have been involved in judging school competitions too. Issues are fed back to the rest of the school where children can all share their views and thoughts. If decisions need to be made, each class member has a vote to ensure their opinion is heard.
At the last General Election, KS1 children took part in a mock election. They could vote for the Chocolate Party, the Woods Party or the Sharing Party. Teachers shared their manifestos and children voted; the Sharing Party won. The debates the children had over which party to choose, showed great insights into the positives and negatives of each party’s. Much comment was heard about too much chocolate being unhealthy and that living in the woods without access to water and electricity would be challenging.
The Rule of Law
Helping children to develop an understanding of their own and others’ behaviour and the consequences of their choices enables them to distinguish between right and wrong. An understanding of the Rule of Law is introduced through our Behaviour Policy and is linked to the Golden Rules which develop as each child progresses through the school. This starts with the nursery class where the Golden Rules are simply, “kind words, kind hands and kind feet”. These rules progress as children move through the school.
We are gentle We don't hurt others
We are kind and helpful We don't hurt anybody's feelings
We are honest We don't cover up the truth
We work hard We don't waste our own or others’ time
We listen We don't interrupt
We look after property We don't waste or damage things
At the beginning of the year, class teachers discuss these rules with their pupils and personalise them according to the age and needs of the class. These rules are revisited regularly through PSHE lessons, assemblies and class circle times. Good behaviour is celebrated and there are clear sanctions for broken rules which are age appropriate. We ensure that children understand that school and class rules are there to protect us and are essential for our wellbeing and safety. The aim of our Behaviour Policy is to help children take responsibility for their actions and understand their choices can lead to consequences. We ensure that children and parents have a clear understanding of how issues are dealt with and resolved in a fair and just way.
In the Foundation Stage, children have the opportunity to use the role play resources to dress up as figures who uphold the law, exploring that role in the community. This includes visits from police officers who talk to the children about such things as Road Safety in Walk to School Week.
This continues into Key Stage 1 with elements of the curriculum used to enable children to explore the roles of law and authority, for example through learning about the Gunpowder Plot, famous people and the monarchy. We celebrated Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning monarch on 9th September 2015.
Throughout their time at Faringdon Infant School, children are given lots of opportunities to make choices in a safe and secure environment that promotes a self-confidence and awareness. This could be choosing which book they want on World Book Day and visiting the relevant classroom to do activities related to it, choosing which Maths Challenge Card to work on, activities for continuous provision in the classroom or which after-school club to attend. Children make their own choices when choosing their reading book within a band of books, deciding on the menus for the Year 2 residential and helping to set up displays and role play areas. It can also be by allowing children to take risks such as playing on an obstacle course which develops confidence in their own abilities and being able to talk about their experiences and learning.
Through our PSHE lessons we explore different choices children can make and the consequences of those choices; the Family Links Nurturing programme reinforces this. Children are continually encouraged to make their own choices by adults working in school and this theme is revisited through a programme of class assemblies and circle times. We encourage independent thinking through the “Learning Muscles” adopted by the school, which encourages the children to reflect on their learning and the choices they make. The importance of making safe choices when using the Internet is explored regularly through the Computing curriculum and shared with the whole school as part of our E-Safety days. Children are able to share their feelings and discuss a range of ideas from various perspectives.
Our whole school ethos is built around mutual respect. We are an inclusive school where everyone is valued and has a contribution to make to the school. New children are welcomed into school and have “buddies” to help them settle. Children’s ideas and feelings are taken seriously and the school works closely in partnership with families. The school works in partnership with parents / carers to remove any barriers that prevent children taking part in school to the full and accommodate reasonable needs such as food allergies. Wherever possible, we take part in local events and activities to develop a strong sense of community.
Starting in the Foundation Stage, staff spend a lot of time getting to know children and their families to ensure that the provision is supportive and interesting for each unique child. Home life is valued through activities such as the Weekend Bear who goes home with a different child each weekend; a diary is written to record their adventures for the children to enjoy the following week. Parents are invited in for “Stay and Play” days from time to time so that they can join their child in a school day. Parents / carers are encouraged to make valuable contributions to the child’s profile, adding another key dimension to the understanding of the child. In Key Stage 1, children share their learning with their parents when topics finish during “Fabulous Finish Days” and class assemblies. Children enjoy celebrating their peers when they receive recognition for their achievements in Celebration Assembly or when given Headteacher Certificates. These are published in the newsletter and on the school website.
Listening to each other respectfully begins in Nursery and continues through the school. Circle Time is a time for everyone to offer an opinion and idea and know that they will be heard. Classroom rules are based around respecting everybody’s rights. Children have many opportunities to work with different children. Talk Partners, maths and reading buddies are ways to help children interact with each other and respect different points of view. In Year 1 and 2, classes planned a treat for another class to enjoy together. Full Circle runs weekly, where a group of retired members of the community have lunch with some Year 2s to share lunch, conversation and craft activities.
The children and staff often work with other schools in the Faringdon Academy of Schools and the local community which develops respect and appreciation for different views, families, faiths, communities, cultures and traditions. Tolerance is promoted and stereotyping challenged. Children participate in local community events and fundraise for charities, developing their awareness and empathy for others. Such events include the NSPCC Carol Concert, Red Nose Day, Comic Relief, carol singing at the local residential home for elderly people and selling Remembrance Day poppies.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
Different faiths, beliefs and celebrations are explored and celebrated through assemblies, RE lessons and a variety of visitors into school. The children are taught that people have different faiths and beliefs and that these are both accepted and respected. Children within our school with different faiths are encouraged to share their practices and special celebrations. We do our best to support any dietary requirements that are based around faith. The curriculum includes topics about different countries and religions enabling children to deepen their understanding. Assembly music often has a link to a country in the world and children are encouraged to find out about the place and the people who live there. Ministers from the local churches visit regularly to lead assembly with a Christian perspective. We shall be introducing RE (Religious Education) days to enable children to explore other religions further in an interesting and exciting way.
Our school has a partner school in The Gambia and the children enjoy learning about their way of life and their faiths and beliefs. Our curriculum includes texts from a range of cultures to further raise children’s awareness of different cultures, faiths and beliefs. We also celebrate International Day with a focus on other countries. Each class researches a different country and also experiences food, art and music from the region before reporting what they have learned to other classes and their family members.