Introduction

Yew Tree Community School promotes the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children, and prepares our children for the wider opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life after their schooling with us has ended.

We have a duty to eliminate unlawful discrimination, and to promote equality of opportunity and good relationships between people of different groups.

We already consider this part of our role, and we at Yew Tree Community School work in ways which promote community cohesion. As migration and economic change alter the shape of our local and national communities, it is more important than ever that all schools play a full part in promoting community cohesion. Yew Tree Community School will continue to be a thriving, cohesive community whilst continuing to impact on a wider scale to build a more cohesive society.

This policy supports the work of, and is supported by, other school policies, such as our Equality Policy and curriculum policies.

It is our belief that every school, irrespective of its intake and location, is responsible for educating young people who will live and work in a country which is diverse in terms of culture, faith, ethnicity and social backgrounds. We wish to show that, through our ethos, curriculum, actions and relationships, we promote a common sense of identity, and support diversity.

In order to prepare our learners for living in a diverse and cohesive society, we strive to work in partnership to:

  • Encourage the development of a secure sense of their own identity, as individuals and within the many communities to which they belong.
  • Encourage open and positive attitudes towards diversity and the development of the skills, understanding and confidence to challenge prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping.
  • Support   the   children   in   becoming   active   citizens   who   recognise   their   rights   and responsibilities, enabling them to make informed judgements.
  • Ensure equality of opportunity, and remove barriers to access and eliminate discrimination.
  • Ensure they receive a broad and balanced education and succeed in reaching their potential.
  • Provide opportunities for positive interaction with people from a variety of backgrounds in the local and wider community.

Effectively delivering community cohesion also tackles the fractures in society and extremism and radicalisation which may lead to conflict and ensures the gains that communities bring are a source of strength to local areas. Schools are central to breaking down barriers between children/young people and must help create cohesive communities.

What Is Community Cohesion?

By community cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community.

Community from the School’s Perspective

From the school’s perspective, the term “community” has a number of meanings:

  • The school community – the children we serve, their families and the school’s staff
  • The community within which the school is located – in its geographical community, and the people who live and / or work in that area
  • The community of the United Kingdom – all schools by definition are part of it
  • The global community – formed by EU and international links

How Does Our School Contribute To Community Cohesion?

All schools, whatever the mix of children they serve, are responsible for equipping their learners to live alongside people from many different backgrounds.

For some schools where the pupil population is diverse, existing activities and work aimed at supporting pupils from different social, ethnic or economic backgrounds to learn from, will already be contributing towards community cohesion. For our school, where the population is less diverse (according to our annual school census and local data), we work to provide opportunities for our learners to work with a range of people from different age groups, backgrounds, religious, ethnic and cultural groups.

Our work as a Healthy School, and through our existing partnerships in the local and wider community, supports community cohesion to a great extent, and the promotion of community cohesion permeates our aims and school ethos.

The school’s contribution to community cohesion can be grouped under three headings:

Teaching, Learning and Curriculum

Our teaching and the curriculum provision supports high standards of attainment, promotes common values, and helps children understand and value the diversity that surrounds them. Lessons across the taught curriculum e.g. in PSHE, RE provide opportunities for children to develop their understanding and empathy; Helping them to value differences and challenge prejudice and stereotyping. The taught and wider curricula help to promote awareness of the rights of individuals and also to develop the skills of participation and responsible action.

Equity and Excellence

In school, there is a focus on securing high standards of attainment for all pupils, removing barriers to learning and wider activities and eliminating a variance in outcomes for different groups of pupils. Effective procedures exist to deal with prejudice, bullying and harassment. The school’s admission arrangements promote community cohesion and social equality. Our tracking and monitoring systems enable us to evaluate progress of different groups and to minimise the risk of underachievement by members of any particular group who may be vulnerable. The school’s behaviour and equality policies promote mutual respect and an acceptance of diversity.

Engagement and Ethos

We provide different opportunities for young people and their families to interact with people from different backgrounds and build positive relationships, including links with different schools and communities locally, nationally and on a wider basis where possible, for example through our links with the Aston Rotary Club, local school networks and Henley-in-Arden C.E. Primary School. The school works in partnership with a wide variety of agencies and organisations to support the education of children. Engagement with parents/carers through an open door ethos, parents’/carers’ evening, curriculum meetings, parents’/carers’ workshops, festivals and other celebrations is considered a priority at the school. The School Council and Prefects system, which involves the children in the decision making and organisation of the school, teaches the children the importance of participation and making a difference to the school, local community and beyond.

Community Cohesion permeates all aspects of school life.

Implementation

All staff are expected to implement the policy. All leaders are expected to ensure all policies and practice are in accordance with this policy. It is the responsibility of the Head Teacher to ensure that the policy is implemented by all staff.

Monitoring, Review and Amendment

The governing body is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the policy. The Head Teacher will report to the governing body on the effectiveness of this policy.

This policy will be reviewed by the governing body every two years, or earlier if it is considered necessary.

Policy to the Standards and Curriculum Committee on 17th June 2014 for approval.