A small village primary school outside York is set to become one of the first schools in the country to apply for accreditation with a new global justice scheme launched by Christian Aid in partnership with the Church of England.
The scheme, Global Neighbours, which has bronze, silver and gold levels, aims to encourage young children to reflect on issues such as climate change and gender inequality and claim their voice as world citizens tackling global poverty and injustice.
Trailblazing Naburn CofE Primary School, which has just 83 pupils, was one of a handful of schools around the country to take part in the pilot scheme and is already looking to apply for silver accreditation soon after the scheme officially launches in January 2018.
Last year’s Year 5s and 6s took part in a simulation exercise on the theme of refugees and were given 30 seconds to gather items and leave the building while year 3s and 4s learnt about natural disasters and earthquake resilient homes and researched charities that operate in the relief and development sector.
Naburn resident Mike Beresford has helped pupils build up a partnership with an orphanage in Malawi which has seen Naburn pupils make toys from recycled materials as they explore how necessity can drive innovation and pupils have also carried water on their heads, eaten typical Malawian meals and welcomed a pastor from Malawi.
Pupils had previously raised enough money to twin one of their toilets with a toilet in Uganda and at their Harvest service attended by the Archbishop of York this October the school raised enough money to twin the two remaining toilets. Pupils on the School Council are currently choosing which countries to link the toilets with.
Headteacher Brenda Christison said: “It was amazing to welcome the Archbishop, who gave a very challenging and appropriate sermon on how it takes a whole village to educate a child.
“Our Christian values are at the heart of all we do at Naburn and part of that is teaching pupils that each and everyone has a part to play as a responsible member of not only our learning environment but in our local and global community.
“It is wonderful to see how the children are growing in confidence as agents of change, it is important that they are the ones choosing which toilets to twin with and they realise the change they are bringing about as a consequence of their own actions.
“Earlier this year we were judged ‘outstanding’ in our church school (SIAMS) inspection and taking part in the pilot was mentioned in the report as part of our global learning work and distinctive Christian character. Global Neighbours not only gives the children recognition for what they are already achieving but also provides an opportunity for us all to push ourselves that bit further.
“We will keep exploring further how we can truly be global citizens and have been invited by the Lord Mayor to a Fairtrade event in March at which our children will be given an award for their work on migration this year. The children will lead workshops and the grown-ups will listen. We are very excited about that!”
Christian Aid Regional Coordinator for North and East Yorkshire, Stephanie Cooper, who helped coordinate the pilot study, said: “It has been tremendously exciting to see the way the staff and pupils at Naburn have engaged with Global Neighbours and helped show us and other schools the scheme’s potential.
“They are real trailblazers! We look forward to working alongside them and seeing where their passion for global justice takes them.”
Any primary school can now register for the scheme ahead of its launch in January. Schools will be asked to demonstrate their commitment to tackling global injustice through the curriculum, in relation to spirituality, by pupil and community engagement and through school leadership.
For more information or to register visit