Miscellaneous / How Might Primary Schools And Teachers Contribute To The Promotion Of A Culture In Which Diversity Is Valued And Equality Of Opportunity Is A Reality? (Accac, 2001)

How Might Primary Schools And Teachers Contribute To The Promotion Of A Culture In Which Diversity Is Valued And Equality Of Opportunity Is A Reality? (Accac, 2001)

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Autor:  anton  04 December 2010
Tags:  Primary,  Schools,  Teachers,  Contribute,  Promotion
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It would seem that today's society has almost reached its climax with respect to its diversity. This diversity includes such issues as social background, culture, race, gender, and differences in ability and disability. Large cities are the main centres of this multicultural explosion:

В‘the 56 million people in the United Kingdom speak over 300 languages and represent 14 different faiths.'

(Kochar and Mitchell, 2002)

These often coexist alongside one another in everyday life and may not interact. However, in the melting pot of the school classroom they will mix and interrelate with one another, and it is the job of the school and then ultimately, the class teacher, to effectively manage and promote understanding so that each individual may successfully develop into a globally aware citizen.

ACCAC (2000) states that В‘the role of education is crucial, with schools playing a part in preparing pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.'

In September 2003, PSE became a statutory element within the basic curriculum for pupils aged 5 to 16. To aid its integration

into the school curriculum ACCAC produced a framework document and supplementary guidance.

The framework document was produced to assist schools to in planning and developing the curriculum subject, "Personal and Social Education". In particular it:

В• offers a definition of PSE

В• sets PSE in a school and national context

В• clarifies its aims and purposes

В• describes the aspects of a person which can be developed

В• identifies the key components in terms of values, attitudes, skills, knowledge and understanding

В• lists Learning Outcomes for Key Stages 1 to 4

В• provides a basis for reviewing and developing existing provision in PSE.

In addition, the document identifies 10 aspects of a person in society that can be developed within the school context:

В• social

В• community

В• physical

В• sexual

В• emotional

В• spiritual

В• moral

В• vocational

В• learning

В• environmental.

(Bullet points from ACCAC PSE documentation online)

The supplementary guidance document was designed to help schools to review and develop their existing provision in PSE. Among other things it:

В• gives advice about the organisation of taught PSE including modes of delivery, and about the management and coordination of whole-school and whole-curriculum provision

В• describes the general features of school life which can enhance pupils' personal and social development

В• emphasises the importance of process in PSE, by giving attention to active and experimental learning

В• discusses the opportunities for assessing, recording and reporting achievement in PSE

В• suggests ways of approaching monitoring and evaluating, which take into account both outcomes and processes

В• offers a number of case studies from schools across Wales, which exemplify good practise in a range of contexts and experiences

(Bullet points from ACCAC PSE documentation online)

Inclusion is a concept that is at the heart of the national curriculum. It emphasizes that:

В‘Education is a route to equality of opportunity for all, a healthy and just democracy, a productive economy, and sustainable development. Education should reflect the enduring values that contribute to these ends. These include valuing ourselves, our families and other relationships, the wider groups to which we belong, the diversity in our society and the environment in which we live.'

(The National Curriculum Handbook. Dfes and QCA, 1999)

В‘One way of building respect for a culturally plural society is to put the promotion of the personal and social development of all members of the school at the heart of school life'

(R. Kochar and L. Mitchell, NSCoPSE, 2002)

Teachers can partly ensure that this effective management and the promotion of understanding actually happens by В‘Identifying pupils who: have special educational needs, including specific learning difficulties; are very able; are not yet fluent in English; and knowing where to get help in order to give positive and targeted support.' (DfEE 1998: 12)

The idea articulated by the government in the White Paper Excellence in Schools was to create: В‘a society which is dynamic and productive, offering opportunity and fairness to all' (DfEE 1998: 9)

The government has put in place several В‘acts' to ensure everybody has the right to equal opportunities in education. These acts have made it law that all are entitled to the same education and treatment in the school environment.

These include acts such as:

В• The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which was updated in April 2005. This act was introduced to В‘address the problem of inequality between disabled and able-bodies people. It legislates for key areas of employment, public transport and access to goods, facilities and services, including educational services.' (Dfes)

В• Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) 2001, В‘amended part 4 of the DDA to place anti-discrimination duties on those responsible for the provision of education. This includes further and higher education institutions, adult and community providers, and specialist colleges.' (Dfes)

В• The Race Relations Act 1976, which was then altered to produce the Race Relations Amendment Act of 2000. В‘This act gives public bodies, including schools, a statutory duty to promote race equality. Schools have specific duties to help them meet this general duty.' (Dfes)

В‘Under the race relations act it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origin. All racial groups are protected from discrimination.' (Commission for Racial Equality)

В• The Disability Rights Commission Act 1999. This act lead to the establishment of the Disability Rights Commission in April 2000. The DRC statutory duties include: working to eliminate discrimination against disabled people, promoting equal opportunities for disabled people, encouraging good practice in the treatment of disabled people and advising the Government on the working of disability legislation - the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 and the Disability Rights Commission Act 1999.

From these acts educational authorities took the key parts and formed documentation for educational establishments. For example the Welsh Assembly produced the following excerpts from their educational strategic plan, outlining some key areas to be addressed:

В• Better opportunities for learning.

В• Better stronger economy.

В• Better health and well being.

В• Better quality of life.

From these key areas the following points were produced to be embraced by the educational system and implemented wherever possible:

В• Sustainable development - meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.

В• Tackling social disadvantage - the development of an inclusive society where everyone has the chance to fulfil their potential.

В• Equal opportunities - the promotion of a culture in which diversity is valued and equality of opportunity is a reality.

Using these, the government hoped to accomplish the task of producing an awareness of diversity and equality amongst the school going generations.

It is apparent that sustainable development, social disadvantage and equal opportunities, is implemented in varying amounts according to the setting of the school and the social behaviour of the individuals in the classroom.

The author would like to draw attention to the details of his school placement experience to illustrate this point. The school in question is situated in a part of Cardiff which has a diverse ethnicity. In this particular class of thirty pupils, only three were Caucasian. The rest were of several other ethnicities: predominately African and Indian. The pupils did not see the diverse cultural make up of the classroom as an issue. When arguments and disagreements took place, (as they invariably do in a year five class), no reference was made whatsoever to race or colour. The pupils were unaware of the topic of sustainable development. This is in no way was the fault of the teachers: it was apparent that it just was not evident in the children's culture and day to day life. Although sustainable development was being addressed where ever possible, (in lessons and in the school council); equal opportunities regarding race and culture where not so extensively studied or taught.

"Equality in education no longer means treating everyone the same way. If differences are ignored, inequality results. On the other hand, if difference is the only factor taken into account, prejudice results." (Moyles, J., Robinson, G: 2002)

Essentially, Moyles and Robinson believe that when attention is drawn to the differences between ethnicity or differing abilities, (mental or physical), it becomes instantly highlighted and it is then when an issue or problem resulting in prejudice arises.

The second school placement referred to is in an area of Cardiff where the catchment area is predominantly Welsh Caucasian. This class of thirty four pupils has none of the ethnic diversity of the first class. A small proportion of pupils showed insensitivity to ethnic diversity, asking such questions as, "are they all black in that place?" when comparing the differences between localities in a Geography lesson.

Teachers must meet the needs of all the pupils in their charge, and recognise that a В‘one size fits all' approach may not achieve this. The teacher must ensure that they understand the needs of the class, so that they may effectively tackle the aforementioned issues.

The diagram (Kochar and Mitchell, 2002) on the next page extensively details the reasons for the need for teaching equality and diversity in schools. It comprehensively outlines the macro (Global / International) and micro (School) stimuli, demonstrating the need to ensure that diversity and equality are effectively addressed, (whether a statutory requirement or a practical stimulus).

The Statutory requirements refer to the legal side of the issues of diversity. These range from the acts produced by Government, through to the guidelines set out by the local educational authorities for the ongoing implementation of equality and diversity across the curriculum in schools. Practical stimuli are events from recent world history, (for example September 11th 2001, and the World Cup). These proceedings serve to highlight the differences and problems between different cultures, and to a Key Stage 2 pupil the World Cup may just be as relevant as the conflicts taking place in the Middle East.

The lack of diverse role models, (males, black and ethnic minorities) is not apparent on the diagram. This is perhaps because although the under achievement of black and ethnic minority pupils is a topic that has been an issue for quite a number of years, it has only really been taken seriously as a growing problem since the Ofsted inspections carried out in the early 2000's.

Indeed, these Ofsted inspection reports demonstrated that, В‘Black pupils are four times more likely to be excluded than other pupils nationally, according to research by Ofsted. And while 59% of white pupils get five Cs or better at GCSE, only 22% of African-Caribbean pupils do.'

(TES, 24 January 2003)

Professor Alistair Ross, an academic at the University of North London who has studied twenty two local education authorities, offers an explanation for this lack of role models in education. His studies report that В‘21% of white teachers with 15 years experience had become head or deputy head teachers, while only 11.8% of black teachers and 13.5% of Asian teachers had been promoted to the top positions' and that В‘Black and Asian teachers are also leaving teaching many years before their white counterparts'

(Ross 2001)

Professor Ross' (2001) report concludes that "the customs and practices of the educational system - whether it is at school, LEA or national level - are having racist consequences", regardless of location or gender.

The author would like to take this opportunity to state that on his BA (Hons) Primary Education course of one hundred plus students there is only one student that is of an ethnic minority. Out of four school placements undertaken he found that only one full time teacher and only one supply teacher he met was black. The only Black and Asian teachers encountered from other school experiences were from inner city areas such as inner London and Birmingham, and even then there were few.

Research has illustrated that that there has been not enough involvement from the government.

В‘The NUT believes that the real cause of the problem is the low overall numbers of ethnic minority teachers, a problem that will have to be resolved by government recruitment policy. "There has been insufficient effort made by all governments to properly recruit teachers, and there is a real second crisis in recruitment where people from ethnic minorities are not coming forward," the (TES) spokesperson said.'

(Education Guardian 2001)

Estyn states that the Welsh assembly Government should:

В• Put in place strategies to attract more people from ethnic minoritiy backgrounds into the teaching profession; and

В• Provide a forum for LEAs to share and promote good practice in meeting their responsibilities under the Race Relations Amendment Act of 2000

(Estyn 2005)

In 2001 Estyn carried out a В‘Survey on the implementation of ACCAC guidance on the promotion of equal opportunities and diversity and the effectiveness of schools and LEAs in meeting statutory duties under race relations legislation.'

(Estyn 2005)

Although equal opportunities are a statutory and therefore legal requirement, the survey still found that:

В‘Very few schools have used the ACCAC documentation effectively as a resource for teaching approaches. A few schools, and individual teachers in many schools, are not aware of the existence of the document'

(Estyn 2005)

The above statement from Estyn believes that a very small number of schools, (compared to the hundreds of others that are following the government's statutory requirements), are not fulfilling their duty to ensure equality and diversity is being addressed in the satisfactorily.

However, changes are occurring throughout many other educational products. One of the most obvious to note is the characters in children's books. In the 1980's children were learning to read with В‘Peter and Jane' the two perfectly formed Caucasian children part of a happy nuclear family. Today, most contemporary childrens' books feature characters from around the globe, where they encounter different religious celebrations and customs. Disabled characters are not uncommon.

Again the author makes reference to an aforementioned quote by Moyles and Robinson on page five, and raises the question: do these books serve to put these differences into the spotlight and thus turning them into an issue instead of normality?

The answer would be evident in the way the story writer writes about the interactions of these characters. The answer to the question would also depend on how the teacher would answer any questions posed by the inquiring young readers of the book. This is where the many guidelines set by the various educational authorities would come into play.

В‘Valuing and exploring difference, both explicitly through the curriculum content and implicitly through the teaching methodology is fundamental to achieving equality." (Moyles, J., Robinson, G: 2002)

Thankfully, some of the main issues of equality and diversity do seem to fit in to the National Curriculum quite well, providing a minimal basis of education in these areas. For instance, the National Curriculum Key Stage 2 Geography syllabus requires that:

В‘Pupils should be taught to use geographical enquiry and skills to study two localities: a locality either in Wales or elsewhere in the European Union (including the United Kingdom) and one in a less economically developed country.'

Here the pupils are looking extensively at the differences between two localities. The author would once again like to draw attention to some details of a school placement experience. The class were studying Geography and were comparing Cardiff to a remote village in India called Chembakoli. Almost every aspect was being studied; their educational systems, problems associated with growing cash crops, right down to what the inhabitants of the village did for entertainment.

In Religious Education several different religions are studied, often at the discretion of the school governors, (as R.E is not covered in the National Curriculum and often dependent

on the religious persuasion of the school). However, diversity is still being addressed, (although at a very basic level) compared to the guidelines set by the government for implementation into education.

Appendix A is a set of school rules actually in use in a school in Cardiff, in a very multi-cultural area. School rules, especially when they are decided with the help of the pupils themselves, (consultation with the School Council, for example) is an excellent way of promoting good relationships between the pupils, the pupils and the teachers, and the school and parents. Once these strong relationships are in place, the learning potential of the pupils is maximised.

Estyn's findings from their 2001 survey on the implementation of ACCAC guidance has highlighted the need for the focusing on the execution of equal opportunities and diversity wherever possible. Personal and social education is still a subject that is В‘attempted' to be taught in the primary classroom, and it often loses out to the overspill of Maths or English. Emphasis must be given to educators that PSE holds equal importance as any other subject.

Those who decide upon how much of each subject is to be taught should also realise this too, and thus allow more time to be dedicated to this delicate yet incredibly important topic.


В• ACCAC (2000) Personal and Social Education Framework. ACCAC. Cardiff.

В• ACCAC PSE Framework, http://www.accac.org.uk/eng/content.php?mID=359 Accessed 20-11-05

В• Commission For Racial Equality, www.cre.gov.uk/legal/rra.html .Accessed 20-11-05

В• Estyn (2005) Equal opportunities and diversity in schools in Wales. Estyn. Cardiff

В• Kochar, R and Mitchell (2002) Personal and Social Development, Diversity and Inclusion - An NSCoPSE briefing paper, NSCoPSE

В• Moyles, J., Gillian, R. (2002) Beginning Teaching: Beginning Learning in Primary Education. Open University Press. Buckingham.

В• Plomin, J (2001)

http://education.guardian.co.uk/racism/story/0,10795,551272,00.html Accessed 18-11-05

В• Ross, A (2001) http://education.guardian.co.uk/racism/story/0,10795,551272,00.html Accessed 18-11-05

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