Innovation Exchange

St John's School - rights, citizenship and equality

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Further Information

St John’s Primary School in Barrhead has held Unicef Level 2 Rights Respecting School status since 2007. To maintain the school’s ongoing commitment to this, pupils engage in a range of activities across each school year to reinforce their knowledge and understanding of Children’s Rights, Global Citizenship and Equalities.  In auditing their progress towards renewal of their Level 2 status this year the school decided to focus on extending community engagement links.

 

There are a number of pupils and families within the school community who are learning English as an Additional Language.  A parent within the school works as an ESOL tutor for adult learners and, through their link with this parent, the school established a partnership with the ESOL service in East Renfrewshire Council.  In 2014-15 the school hosted ESOL sessions and were keen to develop this link further.

 

From 7th to 11th March 2016 the school held their annual Rights Respecting School Week organised by the school Equalities Committee. There was a very comprehensive timetable of events organised based on the themes of Rights and Equality.

 

Working in partnership with the ESOL tutor and adult ESOL students from across East Renfrewshire, pupils experienced an ‘Around the World in a Week’ programme.

Theme: Children and Education

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Across the week the children visited a number of workshops from 8 different countries and were taught about the culture, language and people from that country by adults who have moved from there into East Renfrewshire.  They enjoyed workshops on Pakistan, France, Spain, Japan, Myanmar, Egypt, Poland and South Korea.  The children each had a ‘Passport’ to fill out throughout the week, detailing aspects of their learning and once they had visited each country their ‘Passport’ was stamped.  On Friday morning in the Gym Hall all classes had a chance to visit all the countries during a ‘Country Carousel’.  The ESOL learners presented very comprehensive workshops with a range of activities suited to the age and stages of the pupils.  Each class also enjoyed a session in St John’s ‘Cook School’ where they cooked a dish from another country.  We finished the week with a short whole school assembly on Friday to thank the ESOL group for the fantastic learning experiences they had provided for us.

The project had a very positive impact across the whole school community.  The pupils and teachers were incredibly enthusiastic about the workshops.  Many of the children had had no prior knowledge of some of the ‘countries’ visited and were intrigued and excited by the different culture and languages.  The ESOL tutors had brought many of their own artefacts and costumes etc and this helped to bring the learning to life for the children.  As a result many children have expressed a wish to learn more about the countries that interested them and wish to travel when they are older.  Evaluations that the pupils completed at the end of the week were extremely positive.

 

The ESOL learners told the school that the experience was incredibly positive and empowering for them.  Many of them were very nervous when the idea was first suggested and they were unsure how they would be received by the children.  They were overwhelmed by the reception and enthusiasm they received.  Many commented that the experience had increased their confidence in speaking English and as a result they felt more confident to consider applying for further education courses and jobs.

 

Our community of Polish children were particularly proud to have their country represented and some of their own parents involved as presenters.  There are more children using Polish phrases now such as ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Goodbye’ to their Polish classmates and many of them are continuing to play the children’s games that they were taught at the workshops.

 

The experience has helped the children in our school to broaden their knowledge of other world cultures and global citizenship.

The project has created a valuable community partnership which the school intend to continue.  ESOL learners offered a very positive contribution to the education of our children and felt that the experience was mutually beneficial to them.   The project linked very well to our Rights Respecting School action plan and helped the school to engage with both parents and community partners.

We shared many of the experiences on our school Twitter account which can be viewed at @stjohnsERC

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Elaine O'Donnell

Depute Head Teacher

East Renfrewshire Council

0141 570 7360

Case study added to site: June 2016

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