During May 2017, Religious Studies, Global Citizenship, PSHEe and Child Development are the Faculty in Focus at Cirencester Deer Park School and we are focusing on being global citizens.
What is a global citizen? It can be defined as...
“someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community's values and practices.”
Cirencester Deer Park School has a global perspective to our pupils' education, providing unforgettable and transformative experiences beyond school. Whether it is debating world issues with international peace keepers and students from other countries at the annual Model United Nations (MUNA) in the Netherlands, improving other languages by living and studying with Spanish pupils in Cadiz, hearing first hand the impact of Nazi rule and the Cold War on the citizens of Berlin, or building classrooms and teaching English and Sports in rural schools in Ghana, every experience lends relevance to our curriculum subjects and builds understanding of other cultures. Our pupils grow with a true appreciation of their place in the world.
Teacher Mr Broussine and a group of Year 10 pupils launched our Faculty in Focus in assemblies after the Easter break, sharing first-hand their experiences of their time in Ghana last month. The Year 10s talked about their volunteering with African Experience - some pupils had taught enthusiastic Ghanaian children and others had been involved in construction projects in the two schools where they were based. The Year 10s and their personal accounts were applauded by their peers. Zach said that although the Ghanaian children had learnt things from him, he had learned a great deal from them. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Read the Ghana 2017 blog.
Pupils in Year 8 and Year 9 have the opportunity to go on similar trips to Ghana and an impressive number have collected letters to express interest in taking part.
Being a global citizen, however, does not necessarily mean you have to travel to another country. Our world is an increasingly complex mix of connections and interdependencies and our choices and actions may impact people and communities locally, nationally or internationally. In 2015, world leaders committed to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, 17 goals to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030:
- End extreme poverty
- Fight inequality and injustice
- Fix climate change.
Our governments have a plan to save our planet and it is our job to make sure they stick to it. Our young people can be the generation that change the world. Find out more about the Global Goals and how YOU can take action.
Volunteering gives you the chance to make a difference to people’s lives and use your skills and experience to help your local community. Anyone can volunteer and become involved in a project or with an organisation that you care about. See Volunteering Matters.
Our Year 9 Duke of Edinburgh Award pupils are engaging in locally-based voluntary work as part of their Bronze Award. Examples include working in a community shop, helping at an animal sanctuary, litter picking in a park and helping in a care home. Volunteering is one of the four sections that DofE participants have to complete - the others being Physical, Skills and Expedition. The Duke of Edinburgh Award enables young people to help others, get fitter, develop skills and gain experiences, gain friends and talents that will stay with them for the rest of their life.
The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a programme for 15-17 year olds, giving them the opportunity to embark on exhilarating challenges, make their mark and build skills for work and life. The 2-4 week programmes take place in the local community outside of term time and are a good way to develop confidence, leadership and independence.
It is not just our pupils who engage in such rewarding activities. Many staff are, or have been, involved in voluntary work. For instance, Mrs Mackew, Year 9 Pastoral Lead, has a wealth of volunteering and fundraising experience and during the holidays she is a peer mentor for GBSN; Mr Germaine is a voluntary cricket coach; Mr Cook helps out with the Scouts. Other members of staff have engaged in voluntary work at different stages of their lives, both home and abroad.
Each term we support three charities, usually one international, one national and one local. We are currently supporting these mental health and wellbeing charities:
an international NGO working to improve the lives of people with mental illness and epilepsy
tackling stigma, raising awareness and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges
a non-profit making organisation promoting better attitudes to mental and physical health
Helping in the local community is something we can can all do. It might be as simple as taking the time to chat to an elderly person in your street or picking up some litter. Over the next fortnight we will be setting challenges during tutor time for our pupils.
Remember the words of Kofi Annan, Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary-General of the United Nations: “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.”
Head of Religious Studies, Global Citizenship, PSHEe and Child Development