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Citizenship & Ethics

Civilisation is that made of conduct which points out to man the path of duty. Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms. To observe morality is to attain mastery over mind and our passions. So doing, we know ourselves.” Mahatma Gandhi

Intent

The study of citizenship and ethics aims to put pupils at the heart of everyday debates about society and to give them the knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on their local, national and international communities.

Pupils will learn about their rights, roles and responsibilities as a young citizen and will explore many of the issues faced by young people today – both in and outside of the school environment. They will learn about democracy and the rule of law, the English legal system, and gain an understanding of the political landscape and the importance of fundamental British values. Pupils will also be taught practical life skills, such as how to manage their money effectively, how to budget and save, how to plan for their future transitions and how to foster positive and supportive relationships with others, and how to safeguard their physical and mental health.

The citizenship curriculum will help pupils to develop the personal, intellectual and social skills they will need to thrive as young citizens in Britain

The pedagogy of the Cambridge Review is reflected within our citizenship and ethics curriculum. The domain of citizenship and ethics has both global and national components and includes the values, moral codes, customs and procedures by which people act, coexist and regulate their affairs. Such values can be seen in the implementation of the Relationship and Health Education overview, providing children with the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships. This domain stems from widespread concern about growing selfishness and material greed. It intersects clearly with a number of our aims: encouraging respect and reciprocity and promoting interdependence and sustainability, celebrating culture and community and exploring knowing, understanding and making sense. Developing these values and skills are the cornerstones for children becoming respectful and active citizens who are able to play a full and active part in their communities and in public life.

We believe in giving children a voice and encouraging them to use it to impact things they are inspired by or feel passionately about.

The curriculum equips pupils with knowledge and understanding of their rights and responsibilities in the local, national and global community. It strengthens their social, moral, spiritual and cultural awareness, improves their political literacy and gives them first-hand experience of making a positive contribution to the local and wider community. The citizenship and ethics curriculum at Lowbrook provides a vital contribution to pupils’ learning, personal development, and to the ethos of a school

The aims and intent within this domain mirror those that drive our overall curriculum and underpin our school ethos Happy, Healthy, High Achievers.

Interlinked with the values outlined in this are the importance of children developing self -awareness, confidence, resilience and knowledge so that they can keep themselves safe and happy physically and mentally.

The curriculum will support the development of a growth mindset, encouraging children to view challenges as opportunities and to replace the term ‘failing’ with ‘learning’.

Online safety is an essential part of the curriculum to enable children to develop appropriate knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe online. The curriculum teaches pupils to manage risk and therefore is adapted specifically to the needs and requirements of pupils and the technology to which they are exposed. Lessons are age appropriate and engaging and take into account that trends in accessing technology are consistently changing. There is a clear focus on safety and showing pupils how to protect themselves from harm particularly from cyber bullying and dealing with strangers online.

The curriculum aims to develop pupils’ age-appropriate understanding of healthy relationships through relationship and health education and is designed to safeguard and support pupils. Relationships and RSE will be age-appropriate based on themes and issues which build knowledge and life skills over time in a way that prepares pupils for issues they will soon face.  They will focus on: 

  • Families and people who care for me
  • Caring friendships
  • Respectful relationships   
  • Online relationships
  • Being safe

The understanding and exploration of British Values pervades this Domain. These values are: -

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.

Each term’s topic is linked to a British value area. The teaching of British values within our curriculum enables children to build essential skills from distinguishing right from wrong to respecting the civil and criminal law of England. It encourages students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely. It encourages respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.

The children will develop an understanding and appreciation of the range of cultural influences that have shaped our heritage. They will gain an understanding and appreciation of the range of diverse cultures and faiths that exist within our school, community, and modern Britain. Cross curricular links with the faith and belief curriculum will reinforce this understanding and the development of respect and tolerance. Children will be exposed to artistic cultural and sporting opportunities allowing them to develop their interests as individuals and fostering a sense of fair play, tolerance and both individual and collective identity.

An emphasis on Oracy is fundamental to the teaching of this domain especially in the school’s Philosophy Circles. The teacher acts as facilitator, supporting the children in their thinking, reasoning, and questioning, as well as the way the children speak and listen to each other in the dialogue. The role of the facilitator is crucial to ensuring quality dialogue and progress, as well as integration with the curriculum. After the enquiry, the children and facilitator reflect on the quality of the thinking, reasoning, and participation, and suggest how they could improve, either as individuals or as a group

The schools’ domain of Citizenship and Ethics, which incorporates existing practices such as Philosophy Circles and Peer Mediation, are essential if the school is to achieve its overall aim and go a long way to developing and enhancing the school’s positive ethos created and encompassed by our vision.

Implementation

The allocation of time set out below is the starting point for planning, however the art in teaching is not determined by time and it is expected that teachers will act professionally within these guidelines to allocate appropriate and effective amounts of time to each area as they feel fit.

The curriculum will be planned and delivered by the class teachers, specialist teachers, higher level teaching assistants, teaching assistants and where appropriate coaches, councillors, members of Rotary, the Police, Fire Service and the Army when possible and appropriate.

The curriculum, supported using the PSHE scheme One Decision, is designed to enable pupils to recognise risks to their safety. It enables children to learn about healthy bodies and lifestyles, healthy minds, (including emotional wellbeing, resilience, mental health) economic wellbeing and financial capability.

The benefit of our citizenship and ethics lessons is that we supplement the existing curriculum with current affairs. We make a point of teaching history as it happens, and the British values are prominent throughout our teaching. If an opportunity arises, staff are encouraged to use it. Natural events, visitor opportunities and local initiatives will also grab our attention and warrant curriculum exploration and time in this domain. To further benefit our quality citizenship and ethics teaching, we use the Rising Stars growth mindset lesson books. As part of our focus on growth mindset, each classroom has an encouraging ‘growth mindset’ display, the majority of which are interactive.

Our intention is to educate the child as a whole person. Much of the citizenship and ethics curriculum is delivered through the aims of the National Curriculum PSHE curriculum and the use of the One Decision materials. Implementing the teachings of both ‘One Decision’ and ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ (established by the NHS) each term has provided the children with the fundamental skills and intra-intelligence to understand their own feelings and thoughts; resulting in a more positive relationship with themselves and others. Each topic covered within these resources link to the citizenship and ethics termly topics, for example in Term 5 we cover ‘Our World’ in ‘One Decision’ linked to our topic of Political Systems and in Term 6 we cover ‘Be Active’ in ‘5 Ways’ linked to Sports Week. In addition, due to the explicit links ‘One Decision’ makes to the PSHE curriculum it ensures valuable life lessons are being taught and that happy, healthy high achievers are enriching our local community.

Linked to this, we have ‘Philosophy Circles’. During these lessons, children are taught how to create their own philosophical questions. They then choose one question that is the focus of a philosophical enquiry, or dialogue. For example, the question might be, “Is it ever ok to steal?” Through these questions and discussions, pupils can discuss issues, feelings, and concerns. They are also able to learn about how to deal with feelings and conflict, how to keep themselves safe and the skills of resilience and self–reliance. ‘Philosophy Circles’ link to our curriculum topics and are timetabled weekly to ensure that the children develop their skills and understanding over time whilst seeing how they tie into our whole curriculum teachings.

The integration of the resource Picture News enables our curriculum to develop and nurture a pupil’s role in their community. This is a weekly news resource which enables children to learn about the world around them in relevant and contemporary way. It allows opportunities to develop the children’s independence, resilience, and respect. Teaching the news not only provides great content and stimulus and grips childrens attention, but it is also something that the children can impact. It is current, happening now and so their voice is given meaning and purpose.

We hold weekly assemblies, which link to a message or commemorate an event that promote British values. Most recently, the school discussed ‘Children’s Mental Wellbeing Week’ and how the core teachings of this celebration can positively impact the children’s core values, most notably ‘mutual respect.’ As an addition to assemblies, children also get involved in act of worship through assemblies, linking to the national curriculum. British values continue to be taught across the whole school; the citizenship and ethics curriculum is progressive from Foundation Stage where themes like ‘Hierarchy in School and Why Are Rules Made?’ are explored. This compares to other year groups such as Year 3, where they are taught ‘Democracy’ and ‘The Vote’. Following the successful inclusion of British values displays around the school, this has continued to date, and all classes have created British values display and displayed their own class rules.

The progression in Citizenship is well defined, challenging, and sequential, clearly defining the end points for both skills and knowledge. Matrices outline the progression of skills across the year groups and skills have been repeated to maximise the likelihood that children will remember and connect the steps they’ve been taught. The sequence of knowledge based on rights and rules demonstrate how progression is built into our curriculum. In EYFS and KS1, children learn about respecting rules in school, what a rule and law are using vocabulary such as discipline, rule, consequence. In lower KS2, children move onto the rights of an education and the consequence of a decision, behaviour or disagreement. This topic culminates with Year 6 designing, leading and presenting the whole school charter for the proceeding academic year; enabling children to see firsthand how their rights and rules can have a direct impact on the community around them.

The progressions of skills and knowledge are mapped via the curriculum overviews and progression matrices. The school uses a variety of planning models, templates and schemes to meet the objectives of this Domain. The teacher’s planning document allows teachers to highlight the links to key vocabulary and concepts, ICT opportunities and key resources. The emphasis is placed on finding high quality resources to use to support the teaching of the lessons, rather than the recording of each finite detail of a lesson.

The Relationships and Health Education program has been reviewed and was ready for statutory implementation in September 2020. This has been woven within the domains of science and technology, citizenship and ethics, computing and physical and emotional health.

In line with the school’s assessment policy, a variety of formative and summative assessment strategies are used. A school specific formative assessment grid is published and used for all units of work and sits along the school’s carefully and sequentially planned progression maps. Each unit of work has many suggested formative assessment strategies that can be used at the teachers’ discretion. Summative assessments also take place by teachers using their formative assessment and target tracker. Self and peer assessment during the evaluation stages are successful and a key aspect of this school’s teaching and learning pedagogy.

Older children are trained as Play Leaders and Peer Mediators to help younger children learn these skills outside the classroom during recreational time. Health professionals are a valued resource for this domain and are used wherever possible.

It is our belief that consolidation of learning and knowledge is fundamental; and therefore creating ‘Awe and Wonder’ and civic responsibility within our Citizenship and Ethics curriculum is key to this. The development of the Philosophy Circles has been hugely influential with our pupils in achieving this.