Living Education and Citizenship
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” – Paul’s letter to the Galatians
“I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world” – Socrates
"How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank
All pupils should be equipped with knowledge and understanding of current issues in the world around them, meeting their need to become informed citizens. Few subjects offer students the opportunity to consider and debate aspects of life which are crucial, not only to inform their views on world events and major social issues, but also by forming their own sense of responsibility within the community.
As a Church of England High School, it is our firm belief that all young people should be able to think about and discuss events in the world around them whilst sharing in the diversity of our community and ultimately the community of God. Living Education gives pupils the opportunity to respect one’s neighbours, understand the importance of tolerance in order to foster positive social interaction and understand why people hold different beliefs. The Bible clearly states that every individual is unique and made “in the image of God” and through Living Education at St Michaels’s pupils are given the chance to explore how this is played out in the world in which they live. This involves classes working in a climate of trust and mutual respect which is established early on through the generation of agreed Ground Rules. The subject aims to consistently challenge prejudices and the work handles sensitive, controversial and topical issues ensuring all pupils’ opinions are valued and given worth. It is our passion to be able to fully develop pupils’ imagination, to enable them to express their own views and consider their personal ideas of spirituality and morality. Pupils’ studies in Living Education should enable them to debate and discuss ultimate questions and bigger life issues with members of the wider community outside school.
The value of relevance of Living Education (PSHE) is brought home when we reflect on the daily implications that relationships, health education and mental health, politics, human rights, democracy, online safety, and personal identity have on the world around us. The subject is so broad and complex that it offers a wide range of opportunities for young people to develop and utilise transferable life skills such as reasoning, empathy, listening, evaluating risk, tolerance and an understanding of their own wellbeing. For this reason it is taught very much from the perspective of the pupil’s own experience, both in their locality, their nation and further afield into the wider global community. Teaching is enhanced by the use of a wide variety of teaching styles, designed to engage interest, broaden participation and model shared responsibility through an understanding of the communities in which we live. Film, music and ICT have been found to be highly effective tools, both for explaining complex issues and to allow pupils to develop the empathy which is so vital in Living Education through the analysis of case studies and scenarios. British Values are reflected through study of the democracy and diversity which makes both Chorley and the UK such multi-cultural and rich communities. As well as the acquisition of factual knowledge, pupils develop the critical awareness to evaluate and understand the legal, political, religious, social and economic systems that influence all our lives.
- Units of study covering the three core themes of ‘Health and Wellbeing’, ‘Relationships’ and ‘Living in the Wider World’ are taught to all pupils in Years 7-11 through the Living Education programme. Living Education lessons are timetabled during tutorial periods which last 25 minutes, twice a week, reflecting our belief that a pupil’s tutor is the member of staff best placed to cover this important work with their group.
- A number of subject areas at St Michael’s are responsible for the delivery of Citizenship units within their curriculum time during KS3 and a number of GCSE units make explicit reference to Citizenship outcomes.
- Elements of the curriculum are also taught through the collapsed timetable events (Enrichment Days).
- There are also planned opportunities for pupils to contribute to school and community life through our School Council, Charities committee, Worship and extra-curricular activities, such as the national Make Your Mark consultation and one-off events such as election debates and hustings.
- Pupils are given regular opportunities to reflect on their participation in school and community involvement through one-to-one Every Child Matters interviews and their involvement in whole class discussions connected to School Council.
- All pupils are involved in the democratic election of class, year and school council representatives. This fulfils the Government Aim: ‘to increase involvement of the young in processes of consultation and decision making and increase interest and participation in political matters and elections of all kinds.’
- The Head Boy and Girl are involved in reviewing the selection process of all new members of staff by taking an active role in the interviewing procedure as well as chairing School Council meetings.
Living Education seeks to equip pupils for life in the world around them. Citizenship Education facilitates debate and understanding of the views held by others and the actions of people and groups which stem from their beliefs and values. This is vital in the pluralistic society in which we live. No person can gain employment in today’s market without working alongside people from other cultures and backgrounds and in the current climate it is so important for our young people to understand what it means to be a member of a diverse community capable of demonstrating God’s love in action in their everyday lives.
The material in Living Education lessons is very interactive and pupils’ understanding and progress are monitored by staff through the use of AFL strategies. Tutors act as faciliators and pupils are given many opportunities to work in small and larger groups as well as give presentations and take part in debates.
Pupils receive feedback on Citizenship tasks through the subject-based units and many units in Living Education contain a baseline activity which is then revisited at the end of the sequence of lessons so that pupils can assess their own progress. This is then monitored by tutors and the Curriculum Leader for Living Education / Citizenship. Write and draw activities are also used to aid pupils with self-reflection.
Plenaries often involve reflection, giving advice, reasoning a range of different viewpoints and suggesting ways to move forward with challenging situations or seek appropriate help and support.