Congratulations! Buntingsdale Primary School has successfully achieved the Unicef UK Level 1 Award for our rights-respecting work.
Buntingsdale school began to develop incorporating a global dimension within the curriculum in 2006 as part of an international school partnership. Our school has twice received the Full International School Award (most latterly from 2012 -2015).
We were an Expert Centre for the National Global Learning Programme in England (GLPE) during 2013 -15. This involved us supporting teachers in eight schools in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin to develop global learning within their schools.
During 2013 -14 we undertook an action research project on how global learning can raise standards in writing in the primary phase funded through the GLPE Innovation Fund and managed by the Institute of Education at the University of London due to be published in summer 2016. A summary of this project has been published by the National Association of Teachers Of English.
We began a school linking project with a school in London in September 2015 exploring British Values.
The school regularly contributes to regional and national conferences on global learning
What do we mean by global learning, why is it important, how do we teach it and help pupils to learn about it?
The purpose of school is to help children live successfully in the present whilst also preparing them for their future lives as adults.
Primary (and secondary) schools have traditionally included learning about other places in the world, for example, through History, Geography, Art, Music and Religious Education. The world, though, is constantly changing, all be it at different paces and in different ways depending upon where we live. We cannot know with certainty, what life will be like for our young children in 20, 30, 40 plus years time. This is where global learning fits in.
Global Learning is often described as the Global Dimension within the school curriculum. The word Dimension is important. Developing a global dimension within the school curriculum is not only about children learning facts and information about far away places. Through a global dimension approach we plan to help develop children’s understanding of their place within the world at a local, national and global level. In other words, encouraging them to appreciate that there are different dimensions to their lives.
By using this approach we try to help them appreciate that what happens in their lives has an effect on others within these different dimensions and that the reverse is also true. The word that is used to try and describe this is interconnectedness.
Think Global (www.thinkglobal.org.uk ) is one of the leading organisations in the UK that works with schools to help them develop an approach to global learning that focuses on interconnectedness. They describe global learning as:
- Critical and creative thinking
- Self awareness and open mindedness towards difference
- Understanding of global issues and power relations
- Optimism and action for a better world
This can seem a bit sophisticated, complicated and maybe inappropriate for young children. But it is not. What is really important within global learning is that we find relevant contexts or subject areas for the age of the children we teach and then just as important is HOW we help children to develop their understanding. We want our children to ask questions about the ideas that are presented to them; to consider why situations exist in the way that they do, (whether at a local, national or global level); does change need to happen, how might it happen and do they/can they play a role within this and help others to do the same. Through such an approach we can provide opportunities for pupils and adults to consider situations from different perspectives. As pupils get older this way of working can help them to begin to have the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that can help them consider (increasingly) controversial issues. But, as Oxfam emphasises in its Global Citizenship framework, ‘this is not about fining simple solutions to complex problems ’(www.oxfam.org.uk ) .
At Buntingsdale the global dimension is not thought of as a subject area. It is more of a thread that weaves throughout much of the curriculum. The global dimension can be a starting point for curriculum learning or it may develop part way through a theme or topic. There are examples on our school website for you to see. Our Through The Year PowerPoint shows how a wide range of learning experiences link to the global dimension approach.
Global Learning Programme England
The GLP has as its purpose: to equip children and young people to make a positive contribution to a globalised world, by helping their teachers to deliver effective teaching and learning about development and global issues at key stages 2 and 3. (www.GLP.org.uk)
“The programme aims to support teachers to develop their knowledge , skills and values base in order to provide a quality learning experience to children and young people about how they can relate to a globalised world and what they can do to reduce global poverty.
"This provides opportunities to promote an approach to learning that promotes the encouragement of a social justice values base to understanding the world.” (Bourn, D 2014 The Theory and Practice of Global Learning for the GLPE DERC, IOE, London for the GLPE )
Contribution to broader educational goals
In addition to the above at Buntingsdale the school’s approach to global learning can demonstrate relevance to the broader educational and learning goals. For example:
“ Support and enriches learning about development and global issues in appropriate subjects and whole school initiatives, by giving teachers increased knowledge and skills and suggesting different ways in which themes can be taught “ ( Edge et al quoted in The Theory and Practice of GL, ibid)
“Develop the professional skills of teachers through increasing their knowledge and skills to deal with complex issues, particularly those that may be deemed controversial and often not discussed as a result.” ( Hicks and Holden, ibid)
“Equip pupils with the knowledge , skills and values to critically reflect on what they may be learning about development themes and issues form the media and wider personal and social experience , thus contributing to areas such as thinking skills and pupils’ relationship with their peers, including respect for others
Motivate teachers and pupils to show their contribution to building a fairer world
Assist whole school development, for example, helping to create a meaningful and relevant school ethos focused on 21st century learning skills, and tolerant and inclusive values
Make a major contribution to broader school aims in staff development , pupil motivation and engagement and school- community links” ( Bourn, D ibid)
Developing global learning in the above way can also support the requirement as laid down by Ofsted from September 2015 that schools make provision for teaching British Values and helping pupils to keep safe from extremist views.
UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award
All staff and governors attended a one day training event in January 2016 led by a national trainer as an introduction to the school making a commitment to working towards the RRSA. We see this as a way to include a different perspective and focus within our existing approach to global learning.