At the Falcons Pre-Prep for boys we work with very young boys aged between 3 and 7. I believe this is the best age as they are innocent, excited and extremely eager to discover the world around them. Often, in an all-through school, the little ones are in a lovely building tucked away and left to get on with it. At our school, the boys leave us at 7 and during their time with us, we really give them a lot more opportunity to excel in areas often thought too advanced for this age group.
During our inspection last year the inspectors were incredibly impressed by how articulate our boys are and how their opinions are informed and backed with knowledge. Our Learning for Life Co-ordinator, Mr Lee Grant, has developed a comprehensive curriculum for our boys to take away lifelong learning which will help shape confident and self-assured future adults. Our Learning for Life curriculum, known in most schools as PSHEE, incorporates many aspects of the national curriculum’s Fundamental British Values which are: democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance. We have used these as corner stones to underpin our own three core values: courage, curiosity and care. Our school has engrained these values into our pastoral care, which is second to none according to our parents, governors and children.
This term, we gave the boys the chance to exercise their right to democracy by voting for our new school charity. We usually commit to a chosen charity for up to two years and work towards set targets. In the past we have raised money for charities such as Sanitation First and Syria Relief, House of Daraa. This year our parent body nominated various charities and we narrowed it down to a final three. Our senior leadership team presented the three to the boys in an assembly. The boys were all given a counter which they were asked to put into a pot at the end of the presentation. It was strongly emphasised to the boys that they were to make up their own minds and not simply follow their friends. After the vote was cast, the boys were easily able to explain what had happened and how they had decided on which charity we are going to support – all in all, a very good understanding of pupil voice and democracy was demonstrated. We were delighted that the boys chose to support Marine Conservation Society, https://www.mcsuk.org/.
The boys understood that this is how adults get to vote and choose the government. We have a school council who represent their classes and express how they would like to improve the school. I am often quite dumbfounded by the suggestions they come up with. Our eco-warriors look after the environmental pupil suggestions and the head boy and deputy head boy make weekly contributions to our newsletters. I firmly believe that if we give children the opportunity to make and influence these choices they will rise to the challenge and become more involved in activities. The more we can expose the children to the Fundamental British Values the more we can give them belief in their voice for the future. I feel privileged to be part of this style of learning at such an early age.
Andrew Forbes – November 2018