“All Different: All Equal”
Wednesday 16th February 2022
Here at AFMS we play our part in helping our learners to become members of a welcoming and cohesive community. In our “All Different: All Equal” day, we helped our pupils appreciate, respect and celebrate the wide-ranging diversity of people’s backgrounds and taught them to build common ground and common values between the different groups within the community.
Given that this summer, 2022, sees the Commonwealth Games coming to the city of Birmingham, we linked our overriding theme to the Commonwealth, reflecting on its core values and principles, including tolerance, respect, understanding, equality and community spirit and related them back to our own school values.
Ethnic diversity has made our modern British society rich in culture and contributed to our economic, social and democratic development. Our pupils learn that with freedom and diversity comes a need to respect difference. It is important to remember that we are ALL different and it is our differences that make us unique and special, and that is what makes our country so interesting.
Our pupils experienced cultures and traditions from around the world:
Year 5 looked at India. They learned about Indian traditions, including Diwali and the reasons it is celebrated. They listened to the story of Rama and Sita and decorated lanterns, using Rangoli patterns. Pupils also learned about India’s traditional clothing before they designed their own and information was shared about Ghandi and the philosophies he lived by. Pupils enjoyed the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of Bhangra dancing by learning various moves and then working as part of a team, to perform in front of their peers.
Year 6 looked at Australasia and the islands in the Pacific, researching key cities, local customs and main tourist attractions. They learned about the game of cricket and its importance on the islands before taking part in a game of Quick Cricket, focusing on teamwork, participation, fun and fairness. Pupils explored the origins of Aboriginal art and then used this to influence their own designs of animals or landscapes. They also looked at traditional Aboriginal music and used clapsticks to reproduce the rhythms.
Year 7 looked closely at the islands of the Caribbean. Pupils explored the Caribbean via music, art, food, tourism and games. Pupils tried new exotic Caribbean foods, including fresh pineapple, dried mango, Jamaican spiced loaf and Plantain chips, to name but a few. They also worked together to create music from the region with the help of our visiting musician, Scott, from ‘Glamba’, using traditional drums and instruments. Pupils were encouraged to have a dream by exploring the islands of the Caribbean - creating travel brochures and widening their understanding of that part of the world and showed determination by taking part in some traditional Caribbean games and activities. Finally, pupils thought creatively by designing a flag suitable for members of a team taking part in the Commonwealth Games to fly to represent their country.
Year 8 pupils enjoyed undertaking a range of class-based activities relating to cultural celebrations included in the Commonwealth Games, such as creating and designing a mascot for this summer’s games, producing a promotional video and designing our own Queen’s Baton. Pupils also composed their own opening speech and researched and celebrated our own local heroes, showing that we can all achieve regardless of our differences or our beginnings. They then went on to produce a plan for a mini Commonwealth games, which would be appropriate to take place in our school.
A wonderful day was had, celebrating cultural diversity and sharing important messages common to us all!
Thank you to all the staff and pupils who made it another day to remember.
“Modern Britain Day”
Here at Aston Fields Middle School, we take seriously our responsibility to prepare our pupils for life in modern Britain and thus ensure that fundamental British values are introduced, discussed and lived out through the ethos of both our school and the curriculum, as well as through a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
To further develop these values of democracy, the rule of law, individual respect and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, all pupils took part in a range of activities, organised in their Houses, for our “Modern Britain Day”. The various workshops included looking at the “push and pull” factors of global migration and migration to Britain. They went on to design posters and short film clips to celebrate life in Modern Britain. Others looked at how other cultures and religions have influenced our art and then designed their own mandalas from recycled materials. Many pupils looked at what it means to be British, exploring the key concepts of liberty, freedom, democracy, tolerance, diversity and inclusion, and then went on to write poetry in the style of Benjamin Zephaniyah, designed their own street art in the style of Banksy, designed their own playlist of songs to reflect our nation and designed the CD cover to incorporate these values. Pupils also worked as a team, to produce a piece of artwork, based on the book, “The Dot” by Peter. M. Reynolds, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”
Pupils took part in mock elections and researched the history of the British political system and how the democratic process is formed; whilst others went on to cast their vote on issues of their choice. Others learned about the Magna Carta and designed their own charter for our school, with climate change and protecting the environment being high on the agenda. Others made wind turbines, decorated with messages for the Modern Britain of tomorrow.
Some pupils looked at the challenges faced by many people living in Britain today and tried to empathise with some of these challenges; they took part in inclusive sports, including goal ball, visually impaired tennis and golf, seated volleyball and chair basketball. Another challenge was to work in pairs, one blindfolded, to experience life with a disability, whilst the partner gave instructions, following a recipe, to make salt dough and then create an animal of choice from the dough. Others considered the challenges of age and considered ways in which we could make a difference to the older generation by working together.
Visiting speakers shared their experiences as a refugee, fleeing from war and persecution in Syria, with their families, to a place of safety here in Britain. Pupils went on to take part in a role play, based on the book “ Azzi in Between”, by Sarah Garland.
Throughout the day, pupils learnt about British values and changing attitudes, trying to identify what it is to be British, looking at what unites us as a country rather than that which divides us. A fantastic time was had by all as they learned more about the country in which they live.
Great Britons’ Sponsored Walk
Following suggestions from the School Council, all pupils and staff at Aston Fields Middle School, took part in a sponsored walk around the school grounds, completing as many laps as possible in an hour.
Since this day followed our Modern Britain Day, we continued the same theme, with pupils and staff dressed either as a famous Great Briton (past or present) or dressed in the colours of red, white and blue. We were fortunate to have a visit from the ‘suffragettes’, Tim Peake, Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Stanley Matthews, to name but a few!
A tremendous sense of team spirit was shared by everyone who took part and their efforts were rewarded, on completion of the walk, with an ice lolly.
AquAid Water Coolers
We at Aston Fields Middle School are aware that keeping our children hydrated will aid them to perform at their very best throughout the school day. As a result, we decided to invest in watercoolers from AquAid. http://www.aquaidwatercoolers.co.uk
Our unique relationship with AquAid has also given our school the opportunity to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Our decision to install a water cooler from AquAid means that for each one of the 2 machines that we have, we have donated £20 per year per cooler to The Africa Trust. Through our contributions to The Africa Trust, an ‘Elephant Pump’ is being installed in Africa on our behalf.
This pump will bring much needed, clean, fresh drinking water and improve the quality of life of those who will have access to our well.
Our school's name will be displayed proudly on our well and we look forward to adding some photos and letters of thanks from the villages to our site in the near future.