There is a duty for schools to promote community cohesion under the Education and Inspections Act  2006.  

1. Introduction  

The curriculum of our school should promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical  development of our pupils and of society and prepare our pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities  and experiences of later life.  

We already consider this part of our role, and already work in ways which promote community  cohesion. As migration and economic change alter the shape of our increasingly diverse local  communities, it is more important than ever that all schools play a full part in promoting community  cohesion. Our school has a thriving, cohesive community but it also has a vital part to play in building a  more cohesive society.  

Every school - whatever its intake and wherever it is located - is responsible for educating children and  young people who will live and work in a country which is diverse in terms of culture, faith, ethnicity and  social backgrounds. The staff and pupil populations of some schools reflect this diversity, allowing  pupils to mix with those from different backgrounds.  

Our school has good links with other schools and organisations in order to give our pupils the  opportunity to mix with and learn with, from and about those from different backgrounds.  

We wish to show that through our ethos and curriculum, we can promote a common sense of identity  and support diversity, showing pupils how different communities can be united by common experiences  and values.  

We believe that it is the duty of all schools to address issues of ‘how we live together’ and ‘dealing with  difference’ however controversial and difficult they might sometimes seem.  

2. What is Community Cohesion?  

By community cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a common vision and  sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’s backgrounds and 

circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to  all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the  workplace, in schools and in the wider community.  

Community from a school’s perspective  

For schools, the term ‘community’ has a number of dimensions including:  

  • the school community – the pupils it serves, their families and the school’s staff; 
  • the community within which the school is located – the school in its geographical community  and the people who live or work in that area;  
  • the community of Britain - all schools are by definition part of this community; 
  • The global community – formed by EU and international links.  

In addition, schools themselves create communities – for example, the networks formed by schools of  the same or different faiths, or by schools that are part of the Excellence Cluster or Academic Council.  

3. What can we do to promote community cohesion?  

3.1 How does our school contribute towards community cohesion?  

All schools, whatever the mix of pupils they serve, are responsible for equipping those pupils to live and  thrive alongside people from many different backgrounds. However, schools that are driven by  divisions are less likely to perform well. For some schools with diverse pupil populations, existing  activities and work aimed at supporting pupils from different ethnic or socio-economic backgrounds to  learn with, from and about each other, will already be contributing towards community cohesion. For  other schools where the pupil population is less diverse or predominantly of one faith, socio-economic  or ethnic group more will need to be done to provide opportunities for interaction between pupils from  different backgrounds.  

Just as each school is different, each school’s contribution to community cohesion will be different and  will need to develop by reflecting:  

  • the nature of the school’s population – whether it serves pupils drawn predominantly from one  or a small number of faiths, ethnic or socio-economic groups or from a broader cross-section of the  population, or whether it selects by ability from across a wider area.  
  • The location of the school – for instance whether it serves a rural or urban area and the level  of ethnic, faith and socio-economic diversity in that area.  

    In the light of the new duty we need to consider how different aspects of our work already support  integration and community harmony; to take stock of what has worked well so far. We also need to  consider where there may be scope to improve their existing work through a more explicit focus on the  impact of their activities on community cohesion.  

    Broadly, schools’ contribution to community cohesion can be grouped under the three following  headings: 

  • Teaching, learning and curriculum – to teach pupils to understand others, to promote common  values and to value diversity, to promote awareness of human rights and of the responsibility to uphold  and defend them, and to develop the skills of participation and responsible action.  
  • Equity and excellence – to ensure equal opportunities for all to succeed at the highest level  possible, removing barriers to access and participation in learning and wider activities and eliminating  variations in outcomes for different groups.  
  • Engagement and ethos – to provide a means for children, young people and their families to  interact with people from different backgrounds and build positive relations, including links with different  schools and communities locally, across the country and internationally.  

    3.2 What do we need to consider in promoting community cohesion?  

    We need to consider what activities already take place within the school and what might be arranged in  cooperation with other schools.  

    In addition, schools will want to consider the duty to promote well-being as some of the work and  activities that support community cohesion can also contribute towards the ‘Every Child Matters’  outcomes of ‘Making a positive contribution’, ‘Enjoy and achieve’ and ‘Achieving economic well-being’.  

    Teaching, Learning and Curriculum  

    An effective school will have a high standard of teaching and curriculum provision that supports high  standards of attainment, promotes common values and builds pupils’ understanding of the diversity that  surrounds them, recognising similarities and appreciating different cultures, faiths, ethnicities and  socio-economic backgrounds. Opportunities for discussing issues of identity and diversity will be  integrated across the curriculum.  

    We need to ensure:  

  • Lessons across the curriculum that promote common values and help pupils to value  differences and to challenge prejudice and stereotyping – for example, opportunities in citizenship  classes for pupils to discuss issues of identity and diversity and what it means ‘to live together in the  UK’.  
  • A programme of curriculum based activities whereby pupils’ understanding of community and  diversity is enriched through visits and meetings with members of different communities. 
  • Support for pupils for whom English is an additional language (EAL) to enable them to achieve  at the highest possible level in English.  
  • An effective voice and involvement of pupils in the governance and organisation of the school  in a way that teaches them to participate in and make a difference in school, in their local community  and beyond.  

    Equity and Excellence  

    We should continue to focus on securing high standards of attainment for all pupils from all ethnic  backgrounds and of different socio-economic statuses, ensuring that pupils are treated with respect  and supported to achieve their full potential.

    The school tracking systems will enable us to evaluate progress of different groups and to tackle  underperformance by any particular group.  

    We need to redouble our efforts to monitor incidents of prejudice, bullying and harassment. Monitoring  of whether pupils from particular groups are more likely to be excluded or disciplined than others  should be accompanied by appropriate behaviour and discipline policies in place to deal with this.  Our school admissions criteria emphasises the importance of admission arrangements that promote  community cohesion and social equity.  

    Engagement and Ethos  

    School to school: We shall seek to broaden the ways that we work in partnership with other schools.  We shall look either locally or further afield and the means of developing the relationship may be  through exchange visits or more likely through the internet.  

    Sharing facilities also provides a means for pupils to interact, as do opportunities for meaningful  intercultural activities such as sport and drama.  

    School to parents and the community: Good partnership activities with the local and wider community  might include:  

  • Working together with community representatives, for example through mentoring schemes or  bringing community representatives into school to work with the pupils, ensuring that the pupil voice is  heard and able to effect change.  
  • Maintaining strong links and multi-agency working between the school and other local  agencies, such as the youth support service, the police and social care and health professionals. 
  • Engagement with parents through coffee mornings, curriculum evenings, parent and child  courses and family liaison work.  
  • Provision of extended services, and in particular bringing parents together from different  backgrounds through parenting and family support and community use of facilities for activities that  take place out of school hours, including adult and family learning, ICT and English for speakers of  other languages (ESOL) classes.