responsible, ethical, intelligent citizens
COVID-19 - Some democratic activity has had to be different during the pandemic. Community assemblies which ceased in March 2020 will hopefully be able to start at some point in the academic year.
democracy at kingsmead
Democracy is a fundamental value in our society (sometimes called British values in schools). For Kingsmead children, democracy is more than voting; it is about active participation in school life, having your voice heard and the taking responsibility for the decisions we make together. For some things, like Eco council, children are elected on their environmental vision and leadership. Sometimes we expect all to participate, like in Community Assembly. Other leaders in school are selected by staff in recognition of their potential to represent us in a wider, local arena.
Elected Eco Councillors work with Mrs Gajjar to keep caring for our environment a high priority in school.
Eco councillors are elected annually and we welcome new candidates and those standing for re-election.
Community Assemblies are fortnightly gatherings of year 1-6 in family groups, led by year 6 pupils. Our oldest children work with Mrs Buzzard and all take responsibility for listening to and leading pupil opinion on issues such as which charities to support, how we can improve the school, bullying and online safety.
Junior Safety Officers is a CWAC role where two year 6 pupils promote safety both inside and outside school.
Our JSOs are chosen by nominating themselves in Year 5. They are selected by staff for their skills of presenting and track record of taking responsibility. Their term of office is one year.
Junior MPs in the Northwich Pupil Parliament are chosen to represent our school in the Northwich Education Partnership of schools. Children meet, debate and decide on local priorities which have included homelessness and No Outsiders. The most recent debate was about Online activity and you'll be able to read Josh and Aaron's report in our Easter Newsletter.
Children are selected in year 4 or 5 and usually serve a term of office for two years.
It's a big responsibility being a citizen in a democracy; there are choices to be made and tough decisions to take. Our ethos is about children 'wanting for less, appreciating more, and so being ethical, responsible and intelligent citizens.' We have thought hard about this and how to promote democratic principles of participation and service. 'Popular' people might not always make the best leaders or have the best ideas so for our Election 2020 we took the personalities out and put the policies centre stage.
consulting the electorate
While adults were voting in the government back in December, children were giving ideas of what they through should be priority policies for us here in school.
Ideas from anyone in school advised the select committee about what people want to change or improve.
Next a select committee of our Eco Councillors, Junior Safety Officers and Northwich Junior MPs chose which policies we should have on the ballot paper. To help reach a decision, children thought of policies that care for ourselves (S), other people (O) and the world or environment (W). Children thought we should not include the policy maker's name so children would vote for the policy, not the person. The choice of what to vote on was the children's for all but one policy where Ms S .
Only when children were happy with choices on the ballot was the election held. On 3rd March 2020 children voted with the Select Committee checking off the electoral role (class lists).
The electoral role was children in year 1-6. Reception children who don't yet join in full assemblies are below the voting age as many of the issues are discussed in assembly and we want our voters to be well informed!
43 votes - Help save the world by not using so much plastic.
33 votes - An organised library where you can sit and READ.
32 votes - Bullying, stop bullying.
30 votes - To make school a more joyful and hygienic place.
18 votes - Stop litter.
17 votes - More nature in the playground like trees and plants.
Children want plastic reduction to be our Big Issue.
Children will be talking in community assemblies, to School Leaders, Kitchen, Office staff and Mr Jones to find out how we can achieve what we have asked for, together. This is the hard bit of Democracy - making it happen!
55% of the school voted and something to think about next time will be how to encourage greater turn out. Like adult voters, children had to find the time and take the responsibility to vote at break times. Next time we might need to consider opening the ballot before school and continuing after school for a bit.
Other policies got a lot of votes and we won't forget about these either. Plastic reduction is the Big Issue but we also need to look at improving the Library and continue our work to tackle bullying behaviour.
Since the election the pandemic rather dominated work in school. But in 2021 we signed up to be Carbon Neutral by 2030 and in the 2021-22 academic year we are focussing on reducing to an absolute minimum our consumption of single use plastic.