Penwortham Girls’ High School embraces the fundamental British Values set out by the Department for Education:
These values are inherent within our mission statement ‘to prepare articulate, questioning, tolerant and independent women for the future’ and as such permeate both our academic and pastoral education.
Here are just some of the ways we promote these values within school:
Student voice is valued by the whole school community at Penwortham Girls’ High School. A Student Leadership Team, from whom our Head and Deputy Head Girl are selected, champion eight action groups across the school: Charities; Creative Minds Council; Environment; Happy Minds Council; Respect Council; Revision for All; Subject Prefects (Participation) and Teaching and Learning. Form groups are represented on each action group by a School Council Representative and all pupils have the opportunity to vote, give their opinion and suggest future ideas through the Smart School Council software.
In addition to taking part in the democratic life of the school, pupils are also taught about the democratic society in which they live through lessons in Community Studies, RE and the assembly programme. This education is enhanced with ‘mock election’ experiences, timed to coincide with the British democratic calendar. These serve to spark a political interest within each pupil so that they can take a full and active democratic role in society in the future.
Pupils are actively encouraged to be curious, to have an opinion and to share their views through our ‘Question of the Week’ form time programme which provides pupils with the freedom to develop their own beliefs. As an integral part of this, they are constantly challenged to articulate their views in such a way that they do not impact on our school ‘rights’, offend others or go against the laws of our country.
All pupils have numerous opportunities to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem through a wide and varied extra-curricular programme including numerous sporting, creative and STEM activities. Involvement in these often requires pupils to be ambassadors for our school by taking part in local and national competitions as well as leading workshops for local Primary pupils. In addition to this, pupils have the opportunity to take up leadership positions throughout Years 7-11 with pupils elected by their peers to become Form & Vice Form Captains, Sports & Vice Sports Captains, School Councillors, Peer Councillors, Duty and Senior Prefects to name just a few. These extra-curricular activities are supported by our ambitious and exciting Careers programme which serves to educate and inspire pupils about the array of options available to them thus providing each individual with the freedom to make the right choices in the future.
As citizens of a civilised, democratic society we are all required to abide by the laws of our country and conditions of our employment to ensure that we can all work and live in a productive, harmonious environment. In preparing our pupils for their future we believe it is important that we nurture a sense of compassion and social responsibility within each individual so that they are able to recognise and respect the need and importance of laws and make a positive contribution to society. We expect all pupils to abide by the rules of our school and to respect the reasons they are there. At KS4 pupils have the opportunity to become a Duty/Senior Prefect to assist staff in ensuring our usual, good-humoured environment is maintained across the school. When it is necessary to amend school policies, pupils have an input into the changes and often provide insightful feedback which can impact on the end result mirroring the changes made to national laws in parliament.
Pupils are taught about the British Judicial System, the difference between Criminal and Civil Law, Human Rights and Crime and Punishment, in addition to the historic development of UK Laws. Pupils are also educated about the laws which help to keep them safe including alcohol and drug use as well as guidelines surrounding appropriate conduct on the internet and how to keep themselves safe on roads and near railways. This education ensures that our pupils understand that rules and laws are there to protect the safety of everyone.
At Penwortham Girls’ we believe everyone has ‘Rights’. Pupils have the ‘Right to Learn’ and teachers have the ‘Right to Teach’. The whole school community has the ‘Right to Dignity’ and to ‘Feel Secure’. Pupils and their form tutors make a pledge each academic year, which is kept in the pupil planner, as a reminder of the importance of mutual respect. As a single sex school we feel it is important to celebrate the achievements of women from a diverse range of backgrounds and as such all pupils take part in International Women’s Day. All pupils have the opportunity to learn about the journeys of local female role models from within the community in special assemblies which aim to inspire pupils in areas they may not ordinarily consider e.g. a career in nuclear physics or as a leader in the Police Force.
Within the curriculum pupils learn about diversity and respect within their Community Studies lessons and cover all religions in RE through non-biased study. In addition to this, Penwortham Girls’ has its very own ‘Soroptomist Society’ which raises money each year to sponsor the education of two young women in Swaziland. Through regular updates about their lives, all pupils are able to learn about the life experiences of those in our international community and the resilience they require to overcome their daily challenges. Our newly formed Respect Council promote many nationwide campaigns such as ‘Anti-Bullying week’, ‘Jeans for Genes Day’ and ‘Odd Sock Day’ among others ensuring pupils are consistently reminded about the need for compassion and mutual respect.
Tolerance has been a key strand of our mission statement for many years and is therefore inherent in everything we do. At Penwortham Girls’ we welcome pupils from numerous faiths and religions and value our diverse community which has been recognised by Lancashire County Council through their Race and Religion and Socio-Economic Equality Marks. The need for tolerance within society is promoted at every opportunity, we are currently striving to achieve the Gender and Gender Variance mark which is vital in preparing our pupils for their future. Pupils develop an understanding of what makes us all unique through their education in a wide variety of subjects where they have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of many different countries e.g. African and Brazilian Music, Indian Dance, poetry and novels from other culture and Henna inspired Art.
When promoting tolerance for the future it is vital that pupils are able to reflect and learn lessons from the past e.g. In History pupils learn about the Holocaust. This academic learning is supported through our active assembly programme and pupils are taught why, as a nation, we have remembrance and memorial days and the etiquette involved in these.