Hope, Aspiration and Courageous Advocacy
'Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord' Psalms 31:24
There is an overarching theme of excellence and achievement at All Saints’, which permeates all aspects of the school and this is wholly contributed to by the careful, and unique marrying of our Christian Values and UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools articles, which serve to empower and motivate children to challenge themselves in knowing how they can create change for good. We have continuously educated the children about the Sustainable Development Goals and there are of course, clear links with the concept of creation. The focus is on children choosing to make the right decisions and being motivated to be the best they can be in the incarnate image of God. Children are exposed to situations of injustice and inequality both near and far, for example, Year 6 explored ways in which we can support fairly traded goods. Children help to fundraise money to support the positive work of many charities, such as The Dons, Shelter, Go Blue for a Loo, Sponsor a Cow and Water Aid to name a few. Pupil voice is a strong feature of the school: through our various child-led groups (Ambassadors, Eco-Warriors and Faith Leaders), children bring forward their own ideas to challenge injustices.
We also provide opportunities across the curriculum for children to understand that social action does not always need to involve fundraising and understand that they can use their voices to create change, as well as spend some of their own time helping others. They learn that these are also powerful ways that they can partake in social action. For example, in Year 3 in 2020, the children participated in the Literacy Trust’s ‘My New Dear Friend’ programme, where they wrote letters to, and drew pictures for, elderly residents in care homes, who had been suffering from loneliness and isolation during the pandemic, due to their loved ones not being able to visit during Lockdown. This comes from a place of love, We love because he loved us first (John 4:19-21). The children live out our core values of love, compassion and koinonia and follow the example of Jesus Christ.
We raise awareness of a current news issue that children can engage with which is aligned to a Biblical text or themes and our school vision. It may be understanding aspects of law, raising awareness of a campaign, deepening relationships with other groups; all of these go towards building culture that is questioning and has the potential to be courageous. Our inclusion map shows, social justice is more than just a single subject to be taught. It’s a concept that we infuse across a variety of subjects. Throughout Lockdown, our senior leadership created a series of videos and collective worship that could be shared with families at home, called ‘The Journey of Hope’, to help us still feel connected as our All Saints’ family, even though so many of us were separated by distance. Collective worship offers further opportunities for this by utilising and adapting Picture News resources, to create questions around justice, prayer and advocacy.