Church Hill Junior School Receives ‘Global Neighbour’ Award from Christian Aid

Pupils at Church Hill have been presented with a Bronze Award from Christian Aid’s Global Neighbours Scheme, in recognition of its initiatives to encourage children to think of others throughout the world.

From litter picking and composting to engaging with their MP about climate justice, pupils and staff at Church Hill Junior School in Thurmaston have been working hard understand their responsibilities as global citizens. 

Global Neighbours is an accreditation scheme, run by Christian Aid in partnership with the Church of England’s Education Office, which celebrates schools which are helping pupils learn about global poverty and the Christian responsibility to tackle it, as well as giving them the tools to play a confident part in creating a fairer world.

Sarah Down, Religion and Worldviews Co-ordinator at Church Hill, who led on the work required to become accredited, explained that the school decided to take part in the Global Neighbours scheme to provide a holistic framework to understanding social and global issues like climate change, pollution, and fair trade.

We knew we were addressing certain separate individual themes or concerns”, she explains. “But we needed to have a broad overview to see any areas that we needed to address as well as to continually raise an awareness in our children’s' thinking as to how we live now affects those around us.”

To achieve Bronze accreditation, Sarah first did some online training provided by Christian Aid and then began to look at what the school was already doing and what more they could do to meet the five criteria areas: leadership vision and values; teaching and learning; collective worship and spiritual development; pupil participation in active global citizenship; and community engagement.

As a result, Sarah says, the pupils have “become far more aware of environmental issues relating to the whole world and its interconnectedness”, which is often expressed in their class prayers. They also enjoyed “lobbying the visiting MP Edward Argar and challenging him with lots of questions.”

Diane Brown, Headteacher of Church Hill, said “We are thrilled to be recognised for the work we have done as a whole school community to raise awareness of the extreme inequalities across our globe and perhaps more importantly, the steps we can take to address these. The pupils learn about global issues regularly and gain an understanding of injustice in our world.

“Pupils have been learning about examples of people who faced adversity and overcame this to be courageous advocates for change. These stories have challenged the whole school community to think about how each of us can make a difference in our local community and globally.

“Our world is increasingly connected and our hope is for our children to grow as responsible global citizens who care about issues such as the environment and access to healthcare. The children have especially enjoyed seeing the impact they can have on improving the local environment as well as every class having the opportunity to raise global concerns with our MP about climate justice.”

“The journey doesn’t stop here”, adds Sarah. “We need to keep going with the changes we have made and integrate this as a rolling annual process”. Then, to achieve Silver or Gold, the school need to support “children to challenge for change both within the school, the local community and the global community.

“We try to link curriculum areas to global issues and then create concern so that the children feel the need to act as a voice for change.”

Sarah strongly recommends other schools take part in the Global Neighbours scheme, which is open to all primary schools in England and Wales, regardless of faith. “It is vital for the future that everyone is aware and acts for change to look after the planet and one another just as God would wish us too”, she says.

First published on: 18th April 2024
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