Teaching an Inclusive Curriculum: Curriculum Statement (May 2021)
Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of colour to deal with it. It’s up to all of us – Black, white, everyone – no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.
Michelle Obama, 2020
At Moor End Academy we are committed to playing our part in raising awareness and educating our students about the inequalities that exist in our world for many marginalised communities. We pride ourselves on educating our students about current events and having open and honest conversations about matters which others might shy away from.
We view student voice as a powerful tool, as are the regular opportunities to reflect on our world and key/current events and themes within it through both the formal and wider curriculum offer.
As both an academy and a community we are committed to educating our students to have the confidence to challenge and act like leaders who want to make a positive difference. We recognise the demographic of our academy includes a range of ethnicities that have over time been marginalised and at times suffered racism and inequality directly and through unconscious bias. We passionately believe that, as educators, we have the power and responsibility to inspire our students to be the best they can be - to enable our learners to pursue their dreams and become the leaders of tomorrow.
We are resolutely committed to the promotion of equality and the creation of a learning environment that is fee from intolerance, discrimination and unconscious bias. We are clear that ethnicity is a protected characteristic, and we stand in solidarity with those affected communities in the struggle against racism and in tackling matters of inequality.
As a high-achieving, ambitious and innovative academy, we are acutely conscious of our position of influence. We encourage our students and staff to be the difference they want to see in the world. We recognise that these issues are not new, and that they are pervasive. We know that challenging racism must be part of our responsibility to broader society and should include ongoing reflection and improvements by individuals and organisations – and we are committed to playing our part.
We recognise that our role as educators is not just our words and actions but that it is our curriculum which will really make the difference. The “What” (curriculum) is taught is vital in educating our students about these inclusive values that we are keen to promote and ultimately make a real difference to society. Whilst it is necessary for us to largely follow the National Curriculum (NC) we do have some flexibility, in particular at key stage 3 and rightly ensure that our curriculum matches what we feel is important.
Below are a few examples of how we work towards making our curriculum inclusive for all our students:
- Our Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) programme and Citizenship curriculum support our students to think differently and have the confidence to voice their thoughts in a respectful manner. As Nelson Mandela stated, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We encourage our students to “Be the best and to become the leaders of tomorrow!” and it is this aspiration, for every single one of our students, which will help bring about systemic change. Our future is what we make it.
- Our tutor programme includes a weekly “Big question” which enables our students to participate in healthy discussion about current local and global issues.
- Our students have access to a weekly assembly programme which raises awareness of key issues and national campaigns in order to promote an inclusive approach to different backgrounds and cultures.
- Racism specifically is covered in our PSHE curriculum which is delivered through a dedicated weekly STaRS lesson and is revisited in different year groups.
- Whilst we plan to be proactive in our approach to the delivery of our inclusive curriculum we are responsive to important matters that arise locally, nationally as well as internationally. We listen to student voice and help our students to understand what is happening in the world around them, giving them the information and tools to help them make informed decisions and develop a balanced and inclusive outlook.
- In year 7 students are introduced to the concepts of active citizenship, identity and the rights of children.
- In year 8, they cover topics including, the political system, the media, law and order.
- In year 9 students cover these topics in more depth, whilst covering new topics such as “Are people treated equally in society? and “Can digital democracy increase political participation?”.
- The Citizenship curriculum allows students to cover a wide range of issues from past experiences to current affairs. Students start with Theme A: Living in the UK which allows pupils to explore what makes up our identity in Britain. Within this first theme students are taught about how the BAME community developed in Britain. It also allows them to question what makes up our “British” identity with a real focus on our fundamental shared values and beliefs.
- Furthermore, students study key legislation like the Equality act of 2010 and other discriminatory laws; this equips students with the knowledge that any form of discrimination in the UK is illegal. Theme B: Democracy at work and Theme D: Power and influence covers important topics including pressure groups and what to do if they want to influence or question government policy. This includes a series of lessons around active citizenship in which pupils are asked to come up with their own idea for an e-petition that can be submitted on the government website.
- Throughout the Citizenship course students are encouraged to share their experiences, thoughts and to openly ask questions. They build on key skills, such as listening, analysing, and articulating their views which will hopefully help them to become more critical thinkers and active citizens.
- In Year 7, we explore perspective and viewpoint in non-fiction. Through the theme of ‘The Voice’, issues of equality in religion, race and sex are illuminated through the exploration of texts that, amongst others, cover: the refugee crisis; Malala Yousafzai’s campaign for girls’ education; and Barrack Obama’s vision for America.
- In Year 8, autobiographical texts allow students to engage with the experiences of individuals such as Anne Frank and Lena Mukhina, enriching students’ study of war with these personal accounts to foster empathy. The Book Thief, a novel exploring the Holocaust from various individual perspectives, allows students to further explore the impact of Nazi reign.
- In Year 9, the concept of conflict – man vs man/nature/self - is explored in creative writing to help students understand what it is to be human and the struggles we all share, regardless of race, sex or religion. Wuthering Heights explores ideas about prejudice and vengeance, encouraging students to question their own and others’ attitudes and motivations. Our Politics and Media Unit is designed to be responsive to current events. As shifts in political power and current event rise to prominence, new texts are incorporated such as: Labour/Conservative manifestos; the storming of the Capitol; Black Lives Matter - debating the removal/replacement of statues in the UK; and exploring genocide in Yemen.
- Throughout Key Stage 4, the compulsory study of Literature allows students to build upon big ideas and themes common to society across all time periods and cultures such as: John Agard’s Checking Out Me History exploring the Euro-centric teaching of history and the importance of identity; Imtiaz Dharker’s Tissue explores ideas about power, culture and time; Priestley’s An Inspector Calls questioning the status quo, patriarchal double-standards and our social responsibility; and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol illuminating ideas of morality
- In Year 7 we address the topic of migration looking at a range of movements of people into the United Kingdom (UK) from the Romans to more recent topics such as Windrush. This unit highlights the significant contributions and advances which have been made due to migration into the UK, with a particular focus on politics, religion, the economy and society.
- In Year 8 we cover the Atlantic Slave Trade, from the British perspective (it talks about the origins of the system of Atlantic slavery and the effects on the economy of the Americas and the (UK) as a result). We have re-designed the curriculum to focus on the North Atlantic Slave trade, not as Empire Building as it was.
- In addition, we have greatly expanded our Year 8 learning about the role of Civil Rights in the UK. We already focus on Colonialism for a large part in Year 8 during the first term, before moving onto suffrage for men and women, workers’ rights and democracy in the 19th and 20th Century. This helps our students learn about their rights, their responsibilities and their ability to challenge and comment upon the way that the world perceives minorities.
- In Year 9 we now have a very clear focus on Black Civil Rights in the USA.
- The AQA GCSE History course on Health and the People challenges Western centred views of Medicine by looking at the success of the Islamic Medical philosophies of the Medieval period and the fact that in the 12th century and to an even greater extent in the 14th and 15th centuries the Islamic influence on Western medieval thought was huge, especially as part of the Renaissance.
- The subject also participates in Black History Week.
- As part of the University College London Beacon School Status for Holocaust Education we have learned about key events in History that have led to genocides around the world. We have used the latest research and academic studies to support students and staff in addressing the most complex issues of race and religion and how they will impact on our 21st century lives. We study this at the human scale, concentrating on the narratives of families and individuals who were involved. This will be part of Year 9’s final part of the History curriculum in 2021.
- Within geography, the legacy of colonialism and slavery is within the Year 8 scheme of work so will be studied by all students on factors that impact on development.
- Racism has never been, is not and never will be tolerated in our academy. We are not complacent about our responsibility to ensure that students and staff understand the importance of promoting race equality. Indeed, this makes the issue more important not less.
Physical Education (P.E.)
- In P.E. we expose students to a wide range of sports from Year 7 to Year 11.
- Students gain an understanding on where these sports originate, the evolution of the rules and why that sport may be the countries national sport. E.g. Cricket in Pakistan and Rugby in New Zealand.
- In addition to this, racism is also spoken about, in terms of how sport can play a huge role in eradicating it through social media platforms and the way certain athletes and sportsmen and women can positively influence society. An example of this is the “Kick it out” campaign along with the more recent “Hate Won't Win”.
- Throughout the P.E. curriculum, certain athletes are also referred to during lessons to highlight particular issues that have had an impact on their sporting careers, for example Jesse Owens during Athletics with reference to the 1936 Nazi Berlin Olympics.
- Teamwork is also a huge part of our curriculum and throughout the different sporting activities students discuss the importance of ensuring that all performers feel valued, respected and included within their teams.