We have really close links with Deepa, who is a member of the The Achievement and Equality Team from Nottinghamshire County Council. She came in to team teach alongside to Mrs Black with one of the year two classes. This involved a six week sequence of lessons around three texts: Say Something, Skin and Amazing Grace. The sessions are designed to develop the children's understanding of similarities, differences, bullying and racism. Once Deepa supported Mrs Black to teach the content, she then too the sessions on her own with the other Year 2 class. Parents were informed about these sessions and we had some lovely feedback. The children presented their learning to other children in school and produced some thought provoking pieces of work. They have astounded us with their progression and understanding of this. We have now embedded this in our language around school and Mrs Black, with Deepa's help, has trained the whole staff. They have all been given a 6 week block to deliver their classes too. This has included all members of the teaching community; TA's Cleaning staff, Office staff, Site Manager, Teachers, Heads and Governors. Governors have also been in to see these lesson in progress.
During the session children learnt some key words like:
The Friends of Westdale also supported by donating some money for us to spend. We were able to take a group of children to Waterstones to buy more books to celebrate diversity.
A parent comment:
"It's really heartening to hear about the chance for Rainbows to take part in the upcoming antiracist programme. I hope it is well received and rolled out to every school across the country. I've recently watched The School That Tried To End Racism and have been wondering what is offered to children and young people locally by way of antiracist education. I think it's so vital we and our children are given the tools and confidence to have conversations about race, identity and racism so we are all more aware and can actively strive to become antiracist. I think it is amazing Westdale is embracing this opportunity and I wish you every success."
We have also been linking our PHSE to our Racial Diversity sessions looking at he Protected Characteristics part of the UK Equality Act. We are currently using this as a pupil voice exercise so find out how inclusive our children are. The children were shown some pictures and asked how people are welcomed to Westdale and what to do if other people aren't being kind.
Some of the things the children have said so far are:
"People can come to Westdale if they have a different religion or skin colour."
" We celebrate difference at Westdale."
"If people are mean we 'say something'"
"Families are all different, it doesn't matter whether you have one mum, two mums, one brother, two dads, it is a family."
"If a person has a disability we would play a game they could play."
"It's hard to start any school as someone new so I would ask someone their name and tell the mine."
"If someone was wearing a Patka in our school and someone else didn't understand, I would say 'he doesn't cut his hair because it is a gift from God'."