Global Neighbours provides a framework that enables us to weave a global perspective into our curriculum provision so that the children of St Mark's are equipped to become active global citizens.
The aim is to increase pupils’ understanding of the root causes of poverty and injustice, as well as engage and empower pupils as agents of change in the transformation of our world.
Global Neighbours helps us to advance the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of our pupils, strengthen the ‘promotion of fundamental British values’, promote critical thinking across the curriculum, and strengthen links with the local community.
Global Neighbours also enhances our Religious Education provision in schools by increasing pupils’ knowledge and understanding about why and how Christians, along with people of other faiths and those of no faith, want to change the world to one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty.
We have chosen to use Global Neighbours as a platform to develop and showcase our pupils' work, demonstrating how we are becoming active global citizens and courageous advocates for change in the world, from a local to global level.
It is also another way of showing how we, at St Mark's, are fulfilling the Church of England’s Vision for Education that is ‘deeply Christian, serving the common good’ as well as supporting our work on character development (hope, aspiration and courageous advocacy) found within the SIAMS inspection framework.
Below are some of the ways we are engaging with our local, national and global community, to bring about change that makes a lasting difference:
When we are moved to take action, to make a difference in our world, we ask ourselves 3 questions:
These 3 questions inform our rationale for our response which is then communicated to our whole school community so that everyone has this shared understanding. Our School Business Manager works with the children and the rest of the staff to co-ordinate all of the events through the year.
See our Charity Champion page for more information
Charity Champions | St Mark's Church of England Junior School (secure-primarysite.net)
As a result of Covid, we knew that many people on our local community just simply could not make ends meet.
It was time to put Compassion into action - we could not ignore the need.
The House Captains set up an inter-house competition to see who could collect the most!
We then took our collection to the foodbank to find out how our donations will make a difference to the lives of those in our local community.
At St Mark's, we celebrate our differences. As we marked Anti-bullying Day by celebrating our differences, we reflected on what makes each of us unique and how this helps us to live out our school vision: Growing together, becoming all we are created to be.
We also learned about the amazing work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King who lived sacrificially to enable our differences to be celebrated and not condemned. Our Spirituality Books show the children's responses to this.
We have developed strong links with Whittington House, a local Residential Home. Prior to Covid, we visited each week to play games, sing songs, cook, share our favourite experiences through discussion etc
During Covid, we have kept the links strong through sending videos, cards and letters.
These intergenerational relationships bring joy to us all - it's a really powerful way of learning from and with those in our community, no matter what the age gap!
We hope to be able to visit in person again, very soon.
We marked this very important moment in our world's history through an art project, focussing on the significance and the meaning behind the poppy.
Children led this project with our Art Subject Lead - time was given for us all to learn about and reflect on the impact that WW1 and subsequent wars have had on the lives of others today.
This led into the Year 6 children finding more out about the experiences of refugees, particularly those in Ukraine. In response to this, children have organised a fund raising event for GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugee and Asylum Seekers) in order to buy new toys for the children.
We enjoy excellent links with St Mark's Church and, as part of this, the church community provides superb opportunities for the children to deepen their understanding of the Christian festivals through Experience Journeys.
Within each 'Journey' the children are encouraged to think about the significance of these festivals spanning across all race and culture, for those who have a little or a lot, adults and children, whatever fears or doubts we may have: the good news message is the same for all.
As a result of this and as a way of showing our school value in focus at the time (Hope), the children asked to collect for the local Food Bank and for CCL's Hamper Scamper: we collected essential goods as well as Christmas treats to bring hope to the lives of people living so close to use.
Whilst learning about the joy and hope of Easter, the children wanted to spread the same joy and hope in our community. They set to work making cards and painting pebbles; the cards were posted through the letter boxes of our local residents and painted pebbles with messages of hope and joy were hidden around the community to cheer up those who found them.
Picture News is a very important part of our curriculum. Through class discussions, children are able to reflect on global events and speak with an increased awareness of the impact these events can have on others. This time is invaluable to provide children with a voice and for them to recognise that it is our world where we all matter.
It allows opportunities for our children to learn about our world, develop independence, resilience, respect and unlock their own drive and passion for learning. Teaching the news not only provides great content and stimulus and grips children’s attention, it is also something that the children can impact. It is current, happening now and so their voice is given meaning and purpose.
Children are exposed to a range of current issues including political, religious, cultural, environmental, social, moral and spiritual. Picture news also makes meaningful, relevant links to our British Values, encouraging children to demonstrate respect and tolerance.
Recent examples of discussions include:
Is it ever fair to judge others on their appearance?
Chinese authorities have banned footballers from getting tattoos and instructed national team players who already have tattoos to remove them or cover them up to set a “good example”.
Should rules be the same for everyone?
Men’s world number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic has won his appeal against his recent visa cancellation, meaning he is potentially free to play in the Australian Open tournament.
Should everyone learn sign language?
Rose Ayling-Ellis, profoundly deaf winner of Strictly Come Dancing, has called for change regarding BSL’s legal status in the UK and said she had spoken to Labour MP Rosie Cooper about her Bill in Parliament.
Do you think it is important for us to know the history of our universe?
The $10bn (£7.45bn) James Webb Space Telescope, thought to be one of the most impressive and ambitious, has been successfully launched into space on top of a huge rocket.
A selection of the children's responses are recorded in our classes' Spirituality Books each week.
We have an active Eco Committee in school who have committed to three targets for this year.
For further information, please follow this link.
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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