Equality at North Borough Junior School
The Equality Act 2010 provides a single, consolidated source of discrimination law. This act replaces all other existing equality legislation such as the Race Relations Act and the Disability Act.
North Borough Junior School is proud of its diversity and our inclusive environment. The school strongly opposes all forms of prejudice that could act as a barrier to achieving our legal duties and to being a cohesive and inclusive community. These include:
- Special educational needs
- Racism and xenophobia (dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.)
- Religious groups and communities
- Travellers, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
- Sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
The school’s senior leadership team (SLT) and governors will annually review how well these aims are achieved with regard to the protected groups under the Equality Act (race, disability, gender, age, pregnancy and maternity, marital status, sexual orientation, religion and belief)
The school’s governing body is responsible for ensuring that the school complies with legislation, whilst the head teacher is responsible for implementing policy relating to equality and ensuring that all staff are aware of their responsibility for taking appropriate action in any cases of unlawful discrimination.
All staff at North Borough Junior School are expected to:
- Treat all learners of equal value.
- Promote equality and inclusion in their classrooms, amongst colleagues and with visitors to the school.
- Deal with any prejudice related incidents that may occur.
- Plan and deliver a fully inclusive curriculum that enables everyone to achieve their full potential.
- Recognise and respect difference.
- Foster positive attitude and relationships.
- Address al types of bullying promptly and support those who have been exposed to bullying.
The school’s equality objective is to accelerate the progress of those children in receipt of pupil premium funding in order to close the attainment gap.
Support for children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) at North Borough.
Here at North Borough, 40% of our children have English as an Additional Language (EAL), making our school a vibrant and diverse community. Many of our families are Nepalese, due to our proximity to the barracks, but we also have 30 other languages spoken at home by our pupils. Many of these pupils are fluent bilinguals, whilst others come to us with no English at all. We are experienced with supporting children with all levels of English, ensuring that they feel welcome, safe and happy. Many of our pupils entering year 3 with no English go on to reach the expected year 6 SATS levels at the end of their time with us.
When a child joins us from outside the UK, it is important for the family to meet with the Head Teacher and the EAL Co-Ordinator so that background information can be gathered. The information that the family provides is vital when planning support for the child. For example, we would not support written English with a translation into the home language if the child is not literate in this language. Likewise, if a child has had difficulties with their first language, it is likely that they will need additional support with their English. Medical and behaviour concerns can also be discussed at this meeting, to ensure that the necessary support is offered as soon as the child starts with us.
When a new EAL child starts with us, they are paired with a child or small group of children within the class who have been chosen as responsible role models. These pupils will ensure that the new arrival is shown around, and they will stay with them at playtimes and lunchtimes, sharing their games with them. There is also a team of Young Language Ambassadors who are on hand to help our new arrival with any worries they may have, often in their home language. Even though it seems very daunting for a child to be in a classroom all day listening to a language they don’t understand, this is in fact, the best way to learn. A child needs to be absorbed in the language and all support will initially be class based. It is not a good idea to remove the child for extra English lessons as they will learn far more from listening to the children in their class than they will from an adult. This does not mean that the child is not receiving support. Their lessons will be carefully planned so that they are generally following the same topic as their classmates, but with visual support and aids to help them. It is important to note that progress will first be seen in conversational English, and that reading and writing will progress initially at a slower rate. This is normal – children will generally be socially fluent within 2-3 years, but academic fluency can take around 10 years. Children will continue to be supported throughout their time with us, and this support is regularly reviewed and monitored to ensure that it is appropriate and effective.
On occasion, a child, or group of children, may be taken out of class for language support with the EAL Co-Ordinator. This intervention is offered when a specific difficulty is identified and will be short term, targeted support for this area. The EAL Co-Ordinator will also observe children in class and offer advice and support for the teachers and teaching assistants, in order to ensure that the children reach their full potential.
How can I help at home?
- Talk to your child in their first language. Having a strong first language will not only help the development of the second language, but is also a much sought after skill for employment as an adult. More importantly, it is part of the child’s heritage and should be preserved and used with pride.
- Talk to your child about their day. Ask them about their friends and the games they played, not just questions about their work.
- Tell your child’s teacher if they are worried about anything. Small worries can be sorted before they become big worries. Also let us know if there are any changes at home that may affect your child.
- Ensure that your child’s attendance is as good as possible. It is difficult for any child to catch up when lessons have been missed but it can be particularly difficult if you are learning English as a second language. Missed days also affect friendships which are vital for your child’s wellbeing and happiness in school.
- Give your child a quiet place at home in which to do their homework and support them with this if possible. If you are unable to support your child, please speak to the class teacher. We run a lunchtime homework club for those children who need extra support with this.
- Praise your child often. Learning a second language can be difficult and they will be working hard.
- Get involved in school life. We always need adults to help in school in many different ways. The PTA (Parent Teacher Association) relies on parents to help with fundraising for the school or you could volunteer to listen to children read in school. Our Language Fair is held in school every October and is a chance for families to share their cultures with staff and pupils. It is hugely popular and is a great opportunity for families to meet others within the school community. EAL Co-Ordinator
Mrs J Attaway
Stonewall School Status
North Borough is a Stonewall Champion school and we hold the bronze award for our achievements in providing an inclusive school environment. We strongly believe in providing a safe place for all students and their families, in which everyone is treated equally, fairly and with respect. We are committed to eliminating gender stereotyping and stamping out the use of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) language within our school community. Both our Head Teacher and our Equality Lead are Stonewall trained and have led whole staff training on dealing with and the reporting of HBT incidents. In addition, we have a trained team of Diversity Ambassadors, made up of both staff and pupils, who are available to both spot and deal with incidents and to provide support for anyone who needs to talk about their own experiences. Staff Ambassadors wear a rainbow coloured lanyard and pupils wear a rainbow badge, for easy identification. We have changed our incident reporting system to include a dedicated HBT incident form, to ensure that all incidents are dealt with swiftly and monitored carefully.
To ensure that gender stereotyping is eliminated in school, we ensure that our library, lesson content and clubs are inclusive to all and are reflective of our message that our children can be whatever they want to be. Posters and displays around school enforce this message, and our assemblies revolve around this theme.
We recently held our first Free to Be Me Day, which was a hugely successful day dedicated to exploring and eliminating stereotyping and prejudice in all forms. The younger children designed toys, toy shops, advertising and packaging without the use of gender stereotyping, whilst year 6 looked at prejudice at school and in the wider community. The whole school looked at different family types and how each one is unique and precious, creating discussion around families with 2 mums, 2 dads, 1 parent, a mum and a dad, children in care and extended families. This has created a safe space for each and every child to express their love and pride for their families, even if these look a little different to that of their friends. We were so proud of the maturity and thoughtfulness of our pupils and delighted that the spirit of the day has been carried through to the everyday interactions in our unique and diverse school community.
Our inclusive school policies are regularly reviewed to ensure that everyone within our community is treated equally and with respect. We have a pupil-friendly anti bullying policy which makes clear that no-one will be made to feel left out in our school. We have a dedicated team of pastoral staff who monitor the mental health and wellbeing of our staff, pupils and families, to ensure that everyone has access to support should they need it. Changes have been made to events like sports day to eliminate the outdated boys and girls races – after all, there is little difference to physical performance between the genders at primary age. We continue to have gender specific toilets, but also have an accessible toilet available for any pupil who feels more comfortable using that. School uniform is non-gender specific – the list contains items such as trousers, skirts and dresses but these are not specified by gender. Sports kits are the same for all children.
We have begun to invest heavily in books for our library which celebrate difference, challenge stereotypes and show different families. We have recently purchased books depicting life as a member of the Traveller community and there are several dual language books for our children who are new to English. Each year, we hold our Language Fair, at which many of the countries of origin of our pupils and their families are represented, to ensure that cultural heritage is respected and celebrated. Our Religious Education teaches about a wide spectrum of beliefs which are all linked back to our school values of kindness and respect.
Our world is changing for the better. Society no longer tolerates prejudice and we are helping our children to identify it and tackle it – skills which they will take on to their secondary schools, further education and eventually into their workplaces. Our children celebrate diversity in all its forms and understand that it's okay to be different – a vital message for the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils and their families. We are dedicated to ensuring that every pupil feels supported at school to be themselves, without prejudice or discrimination. This makes us the safe, diverse and close-knit community that is North Borough.
Mrs J Attaway
Young Language Ambassadors
At North Borough, we have a team of trained Young Language Ambassadors, who are chosen for their maturity and ability to communicate well. They speak a range of languages and are supported by the EAL Co-Ordinator to make new EAL children feel welcome and safe. You may be shown around by an ambassador when you visit the school and they can answer any questions that you or your child may have, in your home language where possible. They may then meet with your child regularly to ensure that school procedures and special days and trips are fully explained and that your child is happy and settled. Any concerns will be reported back to the EAL Co-Ordinator, who will discuss them with your child’s teacher so that any problems can be resolved quickly.
Our Language Fair is held in school every October and is now in its 4th year. It is hugely popular with staff, parents and pupils and is a chance for North Borough to celebrate the diversity that makes it the vibrant school that it is. For one day a year, our school hall is transformed into a multi- cultural fair, with stalls, run by families, representing countries from all over the world. These families share their cultures through food, religious artefacts, clothing, games, music, art and sport, with each class visiting the fair during the day. It is then open to other parents at the end of the afternoon. It is a wonderful opportunity for families to meet new friends and for the children to learn about the cultures and traditions of their classmates. Furthermore, each class chooses a country to study for that day, and celebrates the art, music and geography of that country.
Information about the fair is given out each September. We rely on families to make it a great day and strive to have all of our countries represented. It gives an immense sense of pride to our EAL pupils and is an excellent way to promote diversity within our school community. It is attended by the Mayor of Maidstone or a representative and is photographed for the local newspaper. Members of staff from other local schools also attend.
Here are some photographs from Language Fair!