At Whiston Willis, Global Learning plays a central role in our teaching and learning and we are proud to have achieved the full International School Award in July 2019. Since then, we have worked to develop our school vision, values, policies and curriculum to further embed our international ethos across all areas. Our curriculum, ethos and international activities all dovetail to educate pupils about the wider world, other cultures and places and to deepen their perspective. All staff are fully committed to supporting a key vision of developing outward-looking pupils with high levels of academic excellence and social intelligence, eager to have a positive impact on their own lives and those of other people around them and beyond. Pupils at Whiston Willis are constantly encouraged and supported to consider wider issues and to engage in, find out about and positively influence the world around them. We have completely redesigned our curriculum to ensure that international themes and those of the Sustainable Development Goals run through everything we do.
We place a high priority on '21st century' or deep learning skills which include:
ways of working: communication and collaboration
ways of thinking: critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation, learning to learn and metacognition
tools for working: information literacy, information and communication technology (ICT) literacy
ways of living in the world: global citizenship and civic responsibility, including cultural awareness and competence
We are currently working towards reaccreditation of our International Schools Award. We have an exciting range of International themed activities taking place this year. For further details please follow the links below:
Celebrations and Special Times with our French Partner School
Our link with Ecole Saint Gabriel, our partner school in western France, is already well-established. As in previous years, children in Year 3/4 will have their own named penpal to correspond with throughout the year, finding out about their life, family, school and neighbourhood. We will be sharing curriculum maps to identify areas where we can work together. The whole school will also be sharing and comparing information about Celebrations and Special times in both the U.K and France.
All Key Stages will be engaged in "All about Africa" themed learning at their own level during the course of the year and this will come together to build up a comprehensive bank of knowledge about our partner school continent. We will maximise links with our South African partner schools to bring this learning to life. Children in KS2 will be corresponding and collaborating with our two South African partner schools to find out about their school and wider life.
Gender Equality through Sport
Our aim as a school is to provide children of both genders equal opportunities in sport. Therefore, we take every opportunity to challenge stereotyping linked to sports and to encourage children of both genders to enjoy and participate in “sport for all”. As part of our collaboration with our South African partner schools, Khulasizwe Primary School and Cedarwood School, we will discuss the different sporting opportunities available to children there. Our aim will be to challenge gender specific sports available in South Africa and we will also want our partner schools to challenge gender specific sports in the UK.
Equality and Protected Characteristics
We strive to ensure that our whole school community works together to foster an environment of inclusivity. Pupils are consistently encouraged to show respect and to develop their understanding of diversity on both a local and global scale. We use the 'No Outsiders' texts to address issues such as gender, identity, religion, race, sexual orientation, disability and age. Our Jigsaw PSHE unit on Celebrating Difference and many of our Literacy Tree texts will further support this ethos.
Fairtrade Fortnight will take place from 21 February to 6 March 2022 and this year's theme is 'Choose the World you Want'. Each key stage will hold their own Fairtrade assembly and use 'Climate, Fairtrade and You' and 'A Fair Future' education pack and resources. We plan for Fairtrade Fortnight to be a key point of our ambassadorial role, leading other primary schools in our Trust in similar learning and activities.
Rights of the Child and Rights Respecting Schools Award
We are currently a Silver Rights Respecting school and have embedded the Rights of the Child in our school’s policy, practice and culture. This year, we are beginning our journey to become a Gold Rights Respecting School. As part of this, children will be leading and driving progress towards ensuring the whole school community has a full and thorough understanding of children’s rights. As a whole school, we will be participating in themed weeks such as anti-bullying week, and days such as World Children’s Day to teach and learn about children’s rights further. We will be using our links in the community to promote children’s rights, ensuring our pupils become ambassadors for the rights of others.
Climate Action is currently a highly topical issue and this will be reflected by a range of activities and learning across all key stages this year. All classes have made “Forest of Promises” leaves which were uploaded to #Promisetotheplanet during Cop26 in November. Different Key Stages will have their own launch point for Climate Action learning during the year through age-appropriate texts and themes, such as, “Dinosaurs and all that rubbish” by Michael Foreman, 'The Tin Forest' by Helen Ward and 'The Promise' by Nicola Davis and geography units on the Brazilian Rainforest and The Polar Regions will further support this learning.
Multi-faith learning is well-established across all age groups in Whiston Willis and children consider comparisons and contrasts between faiths with an understanding of diversity, tolerance, respect and understanding of other cultures and beliefs. We develop knowledge and experience of faiths such as Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism and this is deepened by first hand experiences such as visits to a church and a synagogue, by exploring different artefacts and by visits from faith leaders. Different age groups will learn about key beliefs, festivals and celebrations such as Divali, Chinese New Year, Shabbat, Passover and Ramadan. Our close community links with the local church includes visits and assemblies, Harvest, Christmas and Spring celebrations and a school collection for a local food bank. Each class follows a school programme of Collective Worship drawing on themes, stories and festivals from around the world such as Sukkot, Harvest, Eid, Diwali and Passover. We have also celebrated Inter-faith week.
Health and Wellbeing
Staff at Whiston Willis have worked hard to support the mental health and wellbeing of the whole school community over time and especially during the Covid 19 pandemic. We are proud to have achieved the “Wellbeing Award” in April 2021 and have a clear “Action Plan” way forward mapped out for 2021-22 . Examples of this include, Feeling stations and Worries and Wishes boxes in each classroom, Pupil wellbeing monitors, work with Bully busters and Altru Drama and a range of supportive interventions, such as Relax Kids, Yoga and Lego Therapy. We also explore these issues further through Mental Health Week.
Eco School Green Flag Accreditation
We are working towards the Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation. To gain green flag status, our school will have to complete seven steps of the Eco-Schools program. We have formed an Eco -Committee who have completed an environmental review and have selected the three key topics for our action plan. These are school-biodiversity, waste and school grounds. Our Eco -Committee will now draw up an action plan linked to these findings and we look forward to making positive changes to improve the lives of our children and the wider community.