Millfields is a much larger than average primary school. The school serves an area of significant deprivation and its pupils represent a very wide range of ethnic backgrounds, with the largest groups being those of Asian, White, Black Caribbean and Black African heritage.
The community is culturally and ethnically diverse: some 8% of our pupils are Turkish, 6% African Caribbean, 66% White British, 11% from other white European backgrounds and the remainder are from a wide range of ethnic groups represented in smaller numbers. This means that the percentage of pupils from minority ethnic groups is more than twice the National average and therefore the school works hard to be culturally inclusive. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive school.
Many pupils speak English as an additional language and a large proportion are at the early stages of learning the language. A small number are the children of refugees or those seeking asylum.
Millfields Community School has been a UNICEF Rights Respecting School since 2004 and were re-accredited with Level 2 in June 2014.The UNICEF UK Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) is based on principles of equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation. The RRSA seeks to put the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the heart of a school’s ethos and culture to improve well-being and develop every child’s talents and abilities to their full potential. A rights-respecting school is a community where children’s rights are learned, taught, practised, respected, protected and promoted. Young people and the school community learn about children’s rights by putting them into practice every day.
British Values at Millfields
At Millfields teaching pupils about British values is an integral part of the curriculum. The rights respecting ethos and provision at Millfields, ensures that ‘being British’ in a multi-faith, multi-ethnic and mixed socio-economic community is at the heart of all we do.
British Values are defined as:
The rule of law
Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs
(as published in June 2014 by the Department of Education)
These values are taught explicitly through Personal, Social, Health, Economic and Emotional (PSHEE), and Religious Education (RE). We also teach British values through whole school and key stage assemblies, through our “school ethos” and through delivering a broad and balanced curriculum, which includes and promotes these values. The school takes opportunities to actively promote British values through our whole school systems and structures, such as electing school council members and running a successful School Council –Article 12 Group, as well as taking part in the annual ‘Local Democracy Week’ and inviting local authority offices in to school, as well as our work on the local and general elections during our school ‘Democracy Week’.
Actively promoting British values also means challenging pupils, staff and parents to express their opinions, show their understanding of British values through school celebrations, Partnership projects, PSA events and regular feedback surveys during Parents’ Evenings.
At Millfields, these values are reinforced regularly and in the following ways:
Democracy is an important aspect of our school values. Our Class Charters promote respect for each other, collaboration, sharing, asking questions, and understanding rights and responsibilities, which empowers the children to challenge and make decisions. Our pupils have the opportunity to express their views through the Article 12 Group (where children are selected by a class vote), pupil interviews and feedback and through their weekly PSHCE lessons. They also have the opportunity to lead in school through our Y6 Ambassador role. They advise and support other children and visitors in school every day. Also, Peer Mediators are trained and then work with playground staff to manage and support behaviour, as well as collaborate with each other to make decisions.
They also learn about the meaning of democracy in Lower Key Stage 2 as part of our topic on Ancient Greece and exploring different societies.
The Rule of law:
Throughout the school year, the importance of rules, responsibility and rights is consistently reinforced. Children decide on their class standards that become their Class Charter in September each year, closely linking them to rights from the UNCRC (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) and the school positive behaviour management system. The Class Charters and the school Positive Behaviour Management system clearly sets out consistency in terms of expectations and agreed appropriate behaviour. Children’s awareness of rules is deepened by our behaviour points system which provides evidence of the school rules, put in place at the beginning of the year, being applied. Individual awards in class, and certificates, postcards home and end of half term rewards are given to children who follow the agreed set of rules in school and display the characteristics of a good role model. Millfields’ children also understand the meaning of accountability through our ‘Restorative Justice’ approach. When solving problems and resolving conflicts children discuss the origins of the problem and its consequences, including who has been affected.
Children also explore the meaning of law. They are taught about authority figures in their local environment. In EYFS children learn about ‘People who help us’ and in KS1 about ‘The places people go’, ‘How to keep safe’ and ‘Significant people’. Through these topics children learn about the roles and responsibilities of the police, the fire service, lifeguards and the laws they follow. In KS2, children learn about customs laws, stereotypes and prejudice in their curriculum work.
We also welcome visitors in school as part of our ‘Work Week Aspirations’ assemblies, which links to awareness of law, such as a judge and a firefighter.
In previous years, some of our pupils have had the opportunity to visit the local council chambers and the Houses of Parliament and discussed laws and decision making there.
Our children are always encouraged to make choices and speak their minds. Our school environment is safe and supportive and provides children with a place where they can express themselves. In our PHSCE lessons, children lead their own learning through open discussions and choice of enquiries. They often decide their own topic of discussion and express their own feelings and ideas. Many pupils in UKS2 take part in school and inter-school Debate Challenges. Pupils are encouraged to make choices every day when choosing what to eat for lunch and in EYFS what play-based learning activity to choose.
Children are also encouraged to make choices about extra-curricular activities, project led assemblies and sometimes about the level of challenge in their work during lessons. Freedom is also discussed every year during ‘Diversity Week’. If our children find it difficult to express themselves in discussions, they can also show their personal freedom and expression through song writing, singing in music assemblies and lessons, and art (lessons or art therapy).
Our school councillors are ambassadors of the Rights Respecting School agenda, and they share their understanding of rights and responsibilities in Council Meetings and in assemblies.