“All Different: All Equal”
Thursday, 16th February 2023
Here at AFMS, we play our part in helping our learners to become members of a welcoming and cohesive community. In our “All Different: All Equal” day, which took place in the Spring term, we built on the work of our wider Character Education programme, helping our pupils appreciate, respect and celebrate the wide-ranging diversity of people’s backgrounds and taught them to build common ground and common values between the different groups within the community.
Ethnic diversity has made our modern British society rich in culture and contributed to our economic, social and democratic development. Our pupils learn that with freedom and diversity comes a need to respect difference. It is important to remember that we are ALL different and it is our differences that make us unique and special, and that is what makes our country so interesting.
Our pupils experienced cultures and traditions from around the world:
Year 5 looked at India. They learned about Indian traditions, including Diwali and the reasons it is celebrated. They listened to the story of Rama and Sita and decorated lanterns, using Rangoli patterns. Pupils also learned about India’s traditional clothing before they designed their own and information was shared about Ghandi and the philosophies he lived by. Pupils enjoyed the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of Indian cultures by tasting traditional Indian food and through Bhangra dancing, learning various moves and then working as part of a team, to perform in front of their peers.
Year 6 looked at Australasia and the islands in the Pacific, researching key cities, local customs and main tourist attractions. Pupils explored the origins of Aboriginal art and then used this to influence their own designs of animals or landscapes. They learnt about traditional Aboriginal music. They also looked at issues facing Oceania, from environment issues such as rising sea levels and pollution to the Ozone layer, to the oppression of the First Nation Peoples.
Year 7 looked closely at the islands of the Caribbean. Pupils explored the Caribbean via music, art, food, tourism and games. Pupils tried new exotic Caribbean foods, including dried mango, Jamaican ginger cake and Plantain chips, to name but a few. They also worked together to create music from the region with the help of our visiting musician, Scott, from ‘Glamba’, using traditional drums and instruments. Pupils were encouraged to have a dream by exploring the islands of the Caribbean - creating travel brochures and widening their understanding of that part of the world and showed determination by taking part in some traditional Caribbean games and activities. Finally, pupils thought creatively to produce art work inspired by the flags of the Caribbean.
Year 8 pupils looked at cultures and traditions from the Far East ranging from manga drawing and animation, origami, enterprise, culture and entertainment to puzzles and problem solving. The pupils responded brilliantly to the various workshops and it certainly provoked the importance of understanding, as well as celebrating diversity in our community.
A wonderful day was had, celebrating cultural diversity and sharing important messages common to us all!
Thank you to all the staff and pupils who made it another day to remember.
“Modern Britain Day”
Here at Aston Fields Middle School, we take seriously our responsibility to prepare our pupils for life in modern Britain and thus ensure that fundamental British values are introduced, discussed and lived out through the ethos of both our school and the curriculum, as well as through a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
To further develop these values of democracy, the rule of law, individual respect and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, all pupils took part in a range of activities, organised in their Houses, for our “Modern Britain Day”. The various workshops included looking at the “push and pull” factors of global migration and migration to Britain. They went on to design posters and short film clips to celebrate life in Modern Britain. Others looked at how other cultures and religions have influenced our art and then designed their own mandalas from recycled materials. Many pupils looked at what it means to be British, exploring the key concepts of liberty, freedom, democracy, tolerance, diversity and inclusion, and then went on to write poetry in the style of Benjamin Zephaniyah, designed their own street art in the style of Banksy, designed their own playlist of songs to reflect our nation and designed the CD cover to incorporate these values. Pupils also worked as a team, to produce a piece of artwork, based on the book, “The Dot” by Peter. M. Reynolds, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”
Pupils took part in mock elections and researched the history of the British political system and how the democratic process is formed; whilst others went on to cast their vote on issues of their choice. Others learned about the Magna Carta and designed their own charter for our school, with climate change and protecting the environment being high on the agenda. Others made wind turbines, decorated with messages for the Modern Britain of tomorrow.
Some pupils looked at the challenges faced by many people living in Britain today and tried to empathise with some of these challenges; they took part in inclusive sports, including goal ball, visually impaired tennis and golf, seated volleyball and chair basketball. Another challenge was to work in pairs, one blindfolded, to experience life with a disability, whilst the partner gave instructions, following a recipe, to make salt dough and then create an animal of choice from the dough. Others considered the challenges of age and considered ways in which we could make a difference to the older generation by working together.
Visiting speakers shared their experiences as a refugee, fleeing from war and persecution in Syria, with their families, to a place of safety here in Britain. Pupils went on to take part in a role play, based on the book “ Azzi in Between”, by Sarah Garland.
Throughout the day, pupils learnt about British values and changing attitudes, trying to identify what it is to be British, looking at what unites us as a country rather than that which divides us. A fantastic time was had by all as they learned more about the country in which they live.
Great Britons’ Sponsored Walk
Following suggestions from the School Council, all pupils and staff at Aston Fields Middle School, took part in a sponsored walk around the school grounds, completing as many laps as possible in an hour.
Since this day followed our Modern Britain Day, we continued the same theme, with pupils and staff dressed either as a famous Great Briton (past or present) or dressed in the colours of red, white and blue. We were fortunate to have a visit from the ‘suffragettes’, Tim Peake, Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Stanley Matthews, to name but a few!
A tremendous sense of team spirit was shared by everyone who took part and their efforts were rewarded, on completion of the walk, with an ice lolly.