We provide pupils with opportunities to explore other faiths and beliefs and to reflect on their own life experiences - we follow the Durham agreed syllabus for religious education.
Assemblies are held in school which address a whole host of issues both secular and non-secular:
Monday is our 'Statements to live by' assembly.
Wednesday is our SMSC assembly.
Friday is our celebrations and achievements assembly which recognises and celebrates children's achievements both in and out of school.
All assemblies involve a great amount of pupil participation and involvement which inspires and develops knowledge.
Every Easter the whole school prepares an Easter service either in school or at St John's Church in Meadowfield. Each class presents a small section and the service is always well attended and appreciated. At harvest, parents attend our celebration of this Christian festival.
Pupils also visit St John's to enhance their knowledge of Christianity and Year 6 annually attend the leavers' service at Durham Cathedral.
Moral and social
Pupils make good progress in learning how to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to take responsibility for their actions. They value the school community, willingly take on responsibility and participate enthusiastically in school life beyond the normal school day. Self-governing independent citizens in school form part of the school council with pupils encouraged to develop their own voice within school.
Children show initiative and are willing to take on a responsibility to improve aspects of school life through their work as buddies, mediators, tuck shop helpers, librarians or running a lunchtime club. They have many opportunities to contribute to community life and to take responsibility around school and within the classroom through their willing participation in community events and welcoming visitors into our school.
The school works hard to bring members of the wider community into school. Recently this has been in the form of the 'Show Racism the Red Card Team', Durham University Libraries and Resources Team (who have worked with pupils and staff on a number of projects), professional musicians and artists, a local theatre group and football coaches from Sunderland FC.
Visitors comment very positively on the welcome they receive from our pupils.
We also help our pupils make good progress in developing those essential personal qualities for future life and the world of work. Activities include:
- Being nominated and then elected for the school council
- Applying to be a librarian, undergo training, and then maintain this position
- Applying to be a tuck shop helper
- Applying to be a mediator and then working with a member of staff
- Taking responsibility for a specific duty in their classroom
- Liaising with older students through the ‘Durham Union Students Action Group', work experience scheme and Durham University Association
- Helping the 'Friends of the School' at the fairs
- Dedicated PSHE lessons and opportunities through 'circle time' and SEAL
Activities are planned throughout the year to enable children to engage in artistic, sporting and cultural opportunities. We have prioritised funding and applied for grants to provide children with a variety of opportunities from outside agencies which has included African Arts and the Lions of Zululand.
To develop our European dimension we have established good links with a partner school in France - L'ecole Albert Camus. Our modern foreign languages subject leader maintains regular contact with our partner school and our pupils correspond with other children from another culture. She also organises for regular visitors to attend school and share their experiences with pupils.
During the autumn term, Browney Academy was invited to take part in two cultural days organised by Durham University's Outreach Department. We were also fortunate to have an international ladies group (Sangini) visit school and deliver workshops on Rama and Sita, Diya lamps, rangoli patterns, handling objects, dressing up in traditional costumes and food tasting. The university also assisted with the workshops and taught the pupils the importance of Diwali. The Sangini group consisted of ladies from India, Nepal, Trinidad and Georgia which really enhanced the pupils' cultural awareness of other countries.
In order to share our cultural awareness with the wider community, we invited parents into school to sample the Indian cuisine which everyone enjoyed!
In addition, all pupils and parents were invited to a Diwali celebration at the Oriental Museum at Durham University. They experienced a traditional Puja ceremony and celebrations which was a really valuable cultural experience.
Following our school cultural days, pupils in Year 2 and 3 invited Father Carl from St John's to help them learn about Christian worship. This enabled them to compare both Christian and Hindu religions very successfully.
Through our partnership with Durham University, we have also been able to access foreign students from China and Germany. The Chinese student presented a whole school assembly to raise awareness of her country and traditions, whilst the German student worked with all classes to teach the children some basic German phrases. The children have loved these opportunities.