Preparing Pennycross children for life in Modern Britain
Children, parents and staff have many opportunities for their voices to be heard at Pennycross Primary. Democracy is a fundamental way in which we operate.
- We have an elected school council; the election of which reflects the British electoral system and demonstrates democracy in action. Candidates make speeches, pupils consider characteristics important for an elected representative, a secret vote takes place and the representatives are duly elected from Years 1 – 6. The School’s Council meets regularly with a governor to discuss issues raised by the different classes; it has access to funding and genuinely affects change within the school. They also take an active part in the selection process for new staff in our school community.
- We have a school House System in place, which was established across our school to increase a sense of belonging amongst the children, as well as the camaraderie and motivation to work together to succeed. Once again, a democratic system is employed every year to select the House Captains who feed back to their peers every week in assemblies. A number of different competitions and events have been established to encourage Houses to engage more fully in the life of the school.
- Year 6 children have represented our school at the Youth Council meeting in Plymouth Council Chambers.
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 our school day.
- We have high expectations of pupil conduct and this is reflected in our Behaviour Policy.
- Through our school Rules, children are taught to know right from wrong and make sensible choices, even when it’s difficult.
- There are rewards for exhibiting good and ‘role model’ behaviour and consistent demonstration of our values is recognised through weekly awards in our celebration assembly.
- The local police officer / PCSO regularly visit the school to talk to the children about the reasons behind rules and laws and the consequences if they are broken.
- Visits from other authorities such as the Fire Service are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce the message of the consequences if rules are broken.
Within Pennycross, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices; knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.
- We have a robust anti-bullying culture with behaviour and safety policies in place.
- Children are encouraged to make independent decisions about lunch choices and take opportunities to follow their interests through extra-curricular activities in art, music, sport, cooking and books etc.
- Children are taught how to keep themselves safe, including on-line. We organise Life Caravan visits every year and actively teach the importance of e-safety.
- Through our school values and the PSHE program, children are taught about personal responsibility, choices, ambition and aspiration.
- Our Enterprise week allows children to engage with people of varying professions and encourages their aspirations.
Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs:
At Pennycross, we passionately believe that mutual respect is at the heart of our values. Children learn that their behaviours have an effect on their own rights and those of others. All members of our school community treat each other with respect.
- Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs is promoted through the Locally Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. Children learn about different religions, their beliefs, places of worship and festivals.
- We are enthusiastic members of our multicultural centre and regularly have speakers in assembly to celebrate significant religious festivals. We encourage the use of speakers and visitors to support our learning in R.E.
- Children have the opportunity to visit places of worship.
- We teach R-time across the school, which encourages good relationships and positive behaviour.
- Through our school rules, children are taught to respect each other, to be cooperative and collaborative, be supportive and to be understanding of differences.
- All adults model the appropriate behaviour and the school challenges anyone at any level who is intolerant, disrespectful or behaves in a way which is contrary to the ethos of Pennycross.
The provision we make to support the cultural development of our children is extensive. The children’s understanding of their own culture is explored through local area topic work, local art, and literature.
Through our study of other faiths, cultural focus days and from ‘Multicultural week,’ we aim to ensure that our children are fully aware and appreciate Britain as multicultural society. The pupils at Pennycross Primary school also learn French as a modern foreign language. Through their language learning, the children have the opportunity to increase their own intercultural understanding of different Francophile nations. The school have links with schools in other countries which broadens intercultural understanding and increases an awareness of themselves and others
We have close links with our local church in St Pancras in Pennycross where we go to study Christian faiths and celebrate Christian festivals. The children also have the opportunity to visit other religious establishments within Plymouth, such as the Mosque and the Synagogue. The school also has a subscription for the ‘Multicultural centre’ in Plymouth, which gives the pupils the opportunity to have speakers and guests to attend assemblies and lessons from other faiths. For example, to celebrate Eid, we had a Muslim speaker attend our celebration assembly.
Our school motto ‘free to fly, onwards, upwards, together’ is a very important part of how our children learn and it is at the heart of all that we do.
Children have the opportunity to reach out and connect with the local community through the celebration festivals, fundraising days and regional celebrations. The school uses our school council to hear our pupil voice in order to decide which charities we will support on fundraising days. Recently charities such as ‘The British Heart Foundation’, ‘Shelter Box’, ‘The food bank’ ‘Children in Need’ and ‘Macmillan’ have been supported by the school.
The achievements of our pupils at Pennycross are recognised through celebration assemblies, where rewards and merits of the pupils are acknowledged from both in and out of school. Pennycross uses Edward De Bono’s thinking hats in all our classrooms to help improve thinking across Key stage one and Key stage 2 in order to allow children to be confident learners and it also has a positive impact on behaviour.
The children have a clearly defined sense of right and wrong presented to them through the school vision, behaviour chart and school rules. The school has clear behaviour policy which outlines the expectations of pupils within the school.
In addition to this they are guided towards and consideration of wider moral issues through the study of topic work and classroom circle time and discussion. The teaching of P.S.H.E within the school curriculum acknowledges different personal identities, positive relationships, cultural diversity and promotes healthy lifestyles. Anti- Bulling week in November highlights our zero tolerance policy towards bullying. During this week each class produces a class bullying charter to show how we as a school can help pupils who feel that they are being bullied. Year six pupils are also trained to be playground mediators in order to help smaller children in the playground and sort out disputes alongside the Meal Time Assistants and classroom teachers.