Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Elmbridge Primary School. Democracy is central to how we operate.
Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter.
The election of the School Council members reflects our British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action. During September, pupils decide whether or not they wish to stand for election. Then the candidates make their speeches, while the rest of the pupils consider which characteristics they feel are important for an elected representative and who will best represent them. They then vote in secret, using ballot boxes and polling booths.
The council has its own budget and is able to make changes within the school; in the past, the School Council has raised money and bought new trim trail equipment, organized ‘Wheelie Wednesdays’ and ‘Freewheel Fridays’, interviewed prospective teachers and organized themed weeks.
The School Council has organized ‘Green Days’ and ‘Elmbridge Has Got Green Fingers’, they have grown fruit and vegetables for use in cookery sessions and maintain the school environment.
Pupils complete questionnaires biannually, where they are asked to respond and reflect on all aspects of our school. Problem boxes and suggestion boxes are in all classes and key areas of the school; these provide a constant forum for children to express their views and offer suggestions about school life.
Every autumn and spring term we hold a ‘Pupil Conferencing’ session involving every child. The children are split into groups, which focus on different areas of the school. The groups are made up of children from different classes. They are asked what they like about the school and what they would like to develop. The children always have strong opinions and all of their views are taken into account; where possible changes are made according to their wishes.
Pupils are always listened to by adults and are taught to listen to each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard. We encourage pupils to take ownership of, not only their school, but also of their own learning and progress. This encourages a heightened sense of both personal and social responsibility which is demonstrated on a daily basis by our pupils.
The Rule of Law
The importance of laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, through school assemblies and when reflecting on behaviour choices. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, their responsibilities as good citizens and the consequences when laws are broken.
At the start of the school year, each class discusses and sets its own Class Charter, a set of principles that are clearly understood by all and ensure that every class member is able to learn in a safe and ordered environment.
Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and advised how to exercise these safely e.g. through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons.
Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school we educate and provide boundaries for pupils to make choices and express their views, in a safe environment and through an empowering education. These choices may be about which extra-curricular clubs they attend, about how they record their learning, or even choices they make in their independent project work.
Respect is at the heart of our school ethos and is one of our six learning behaviours. Children learn that their behaviour has an effect on their own rights as well as those of others. Our pupils know and understand that it is expected and imperative that respect is shown to everyone. We encourage all members of the school community treat each other with respect.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
At Elmbridge Primary School we are proud to promote and celebrate our different backgrounds and beliefs. Through Religious Education, art, English, PHSE and other lessons we develop an awareness and appreciation of other cultures.
During community themed weeks, such as Cultural arts and French week, we celebrate and enjoy learning about the similarities and differences in countries and cultures around the world. Our assemblies regularly include celebrations from a variety of faiths and cultures. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within the school and children visit places of worship that are important to different faiths.
At Elmbridge Primary School we will actively challenge pupils, staff or parents expressing opinions contrary to fundamental British Values, including ‘extremist’ views.