Last Friday representatives from each form group in years 7-9 attended an hour long question and answer session with our local MP, Katherine Fletcher. Students came well prepared with questions on a variety of topics including the cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine and the winter strikes. Before the Christmas break, as part of their study of Fundamental British Values, students had learnt about the issue of migration across the English Channel, and had prepared a number of questions for Mrs Fletcher on the topical issue. Mrs Fletcher gave full answers to all questions and students were provided with a superb insight into current affairs from an MP’s perspective, as well as a glimpse into the Parliamentary world. It was very much appreciated by the students that Mrs Fletcher had given up her time to visit school and give such honest and interesting answers to their questions.
At Penwortham Girls’ High school, we are committed to promoting an environment where all students feel part of our community. As the first secondary school in Lancashire to achieve all of the LCC Equality Charter marks, we are aware of how important it is to provide a platform for certain groups such as our LGBTQIA+ students.
We run an LGBTQIA+ group for KS3 and KS4 students at lunchtimes during the week. This provides the students with a space where they can explore their identity, make friends, have a voice and have a sense of belonging. The group worked as a team to put together assemblies to celebrate LGBTQIA+ history month. We are now working toward the Rainbow Flag Award to celebrate the school’s approach to inclusion.
Each half term we like to present the ‘Caroline Lowton Kindness Trophy’ to one student in a year group who has demonstrated kindness and support to their peers every day. Caroline was a very special individual who, as our school nurse, always went the extra mile to support our students both in school and at home; we always look forward to presenting this trophy in her memory.
Last half term, we asked Year 11 to nominate a student who demonstrates kindness daily; kindness that goes unnoticed by many but is truly appreciated by a few. There was one student who stood out as being kind and compassionate to others. This student really did stand out from the rest with some truly thoughtful words which we know would have made Caroline smile, therefore we would like to award the trophy to Maryam M. After receiving the award Maryam said “What makes this award so special to me is that my friends and peers were the ones that voted for me, and I think there are so many people worthy of this award, so I really appreciate everyone who voted for me. It’s a huge honour to receive this award and thank you so much to everyone that voted!”
We are very proud to announce that, last week, PGHS was awarded the full Lancashire Equality Mark! We are the first secondary school in Lancashire to achieve this award, which is given to schools that can demonstrate a commitment to embedding equality throughout their practice and who enable all their students to thrive in a supportive learning community.
For the past three years, our school has been working towards the Lancashire Equality Mark. There are six different strands, and all must be achieved before the school can be awarded the full mark: Socio-economic, Race, Religion, Gender and Gender Variance, Sexual Orientation and Disability. Last term, we were working towards the final strand of the mark: disability. We were very pleased to be awarded this mark and, subsequently, the full Lancashire Equality Award.
Working towards these different strands has created lots of opportunities within our school to celebrate our diverse and amazing school community. We have enjoyed celebrating International Women’s Day, where we were able to welcome some of our incredible PGHS alumni back into our school, including Dame Sue Ion and the BBC’s Nazia Mogra. We have also sought lots of opportunities as a school community to broaden our knowledge of equality in the wider world, such as in our research competition for Black History Month, or our sessions with ‘Solutions Not Sides’ during our school drop down days. Last year, we even held our very own ‘Unitee’ fashion show, which challenged each form to create their own T-Shirt inspired by the theme of unity!
Last week, a representative from Lancashire County Council visited PGHS to see what we have been doing as a school to ensure and promote equality. We are incredibly proud with the feedback we received from the council, which described our work on ensuring inclusivity as “exemplary”. They also said our learning environment was “particularly inspiring” and wanted to pass on their congratulations to all staff and pupils in school.
We are looking forward to finding yet more opportunities to celebrate and support our diverse school community. Myself and Mrs Hall are excited to be working with our newly elected School Respect Council Leader, who is full of exciting ideas about different ways that we can continue to promote equality in school.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was ‘Break the Bias’, and calls for people to imagine a gender-equal world that is free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination; that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive; and a world where difference is valued and celebrated.
As a school, we wanted to celebrate women with connections to the school community so we invited former students and staff to take part in an assembly to reflect on the challenges faced by women today. It was our pleasure to interview the BBC presenter Nazia Mogra, Dame Sue Ion, and also Professor Suzanne Ost who all attended Penwortham Girls’ High School in their formative years.
They shared their insights into what had driven them to achieve success and highlighted the importance of our school’s core values; resilience and ambition. They additionally highlighted the importance of integrity, being ethical, and the value of a positive mindset.
This week is Empathy Week 2022 and we are promoting the importance of empathy during assemblies scheduled for every year group. Empathy is strongly linked to our school core values which include social responsibility, compassion, dignity, and resilience.
Empathy Week is a global schools programme that uses the power of film to develop the skills of empathy and leadership in students across 40+ countries and 6 continents. So far over 100,000 students have been engaged in the previous two years, even through the pandemic. This year the theme is for Empathy Week is ‘Passion and Purpose’ and beyond the assemblies, there is an opportunity for your daughter to become involved in an ‘Empathy Action Project’ and work alongside the Respect Council.
As a school, we are aware that peer and online abuse is an increasing issue and we want to form a focus group of students we can work with to ensure that all students are informed, know how to stay safe and where they can access help and support if they need it.
Additionally, we have also been provided by the Department for Education with a supply of free period products to enable all learners to participate fully in education by making period products available as and when they are needed. Research shows that 1 in 14 girls say they have missed schools as they could not afford or access period products. We have found that some girls are hesitant to access these free period products and we want to ascertain their views so they can access period products freely when needed.
We are aiming to get a sound representation of student voice and action from across the school and make a real positive difference.
Penwortham Girls’ High School is to be awarded the Silver Rights Respecting School Award by UNICEF UK and is the first secondary school in Lancashire to achieve it.
UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights.
The Rights Respecting School Award is granted to schools that show commitment to promoting and realising children’s rights and encouraging adults, children and young people to respect the rights of others in school. Silver is given to schools that make excellent progress towards embedding the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into its ethos and curriculum. There are over 1200 schools across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales that have achieved Silver and over 500 schools that have been awarded Gold, the next step up and highest accolade granted by UNICEF UK.
Sharon Hall, Deputy headteacher said: “We are very proud to have gained the Silver Rights Respecting Schools Award which recognises the hard work the students, staff and the wider community have put in to learning about the rights our students enjoy. The RRSA has a positive impact on students and the school as a whole – encouraging discussion, helping students to articulate their views and ensuring they learn about the experiences of children around the world.”
The Award recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child at the heart of a school’s planning, policies and practice. A Rights Respecting School is a community where children’s rights are learned, taught, practised, respected, protected and promoted.
We will be supporting PIES (Partners in Education Swaziland) through our Tombola at the Penwortham Christmas Markets. Here is some information about them to show you just how influential the money we raise will be.
They are a small North West of England based registered charity with eight Trustees who raise money to provide the necessary finance to meet their Mission Statement: To provide support in terms of food, education and loving care for the most vulnerable children in Eswatini (Swazliand). They do this through fund-raising events, regular and single donations and sponsorship.
In Eswatini, they run two purpose-built care centres which provide food each day, pre-school education and, through community representatives, loving care which the children so desperately need.
What will the money we raise go towards?
Provide a hot meal and basic education each day
Seek out sponsors for their school fees
And most importantly give them the love and affection they most need
This week was Antibullying week across the UK and the theme was ‘One Kind Word’. We supported Antibullying week by hosting odd sock day. The girls showed their support by wearing an array of colourful and unique socks to school.
We have also hosted assemblies for each year group highlighting the importance of our six school values and promoting the importance of ‘One Kind Word’. These are some of the quotes Year 11 students chose to share at the assembly:
“Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day, someone might do the same for you.”
I chose this quote because it’s putting a really thoughtful message across that it’s important to act out of the kindness of your own heart, to make others feel good, rather than for your own personal gain. Carla
My quote is from Oprah Winfrey and she said, “When you make loving others the story of your life, there is never a final chapter because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person and he or she shines it on another and another and another.”
I’ve chosen this quote because I think it shows that no matter how small you think your act of kindness might be, you never know how many people it could potentially influence. It’s not just the person who you do something for/ say something to who is affected- it reaches much further than that, and has a greater impact than you would ever know. Ellie
“Never underestimate the power of a single act of kindness. Your act may just be the added lift that someone needs to go from falling to flying”.
I chose it because I think that sometimes people forget to be kind to others. This quote helps us to understand the importance and significance of such a simple act. Eva
“If kindness were to be profiled into a shape, it would be the most beautiful shape anyone would have witnessed”
I chose this quote because it presents the power of kindness and shows how beautiful kindness can be in the eyes of a person. We shouldn’t take it for granted and intend to want to spread it amongst everyone. Hidayah
My quote is, “You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be” by Nelson Mandela.
I chose this quote because it really highlights how you never know when someone will be in need of your kind actions and you never know what anyone is going through, therefore be kind to everyone no matter who they are. Aisha
To link in with Anti-bullying Week, Year 7 have spent the last few weeks understanding online safety, bullying and cyberbullying..
Year 8 have also been looking at discrimination, racism, prejudice and stereotyping for several weeks now. Again, this has strong links to antibullying week and the theme of ‘One Kind Word’. This week, students looked at ageism, especially towards the elderly.
Year 11 have explored social injustice and looked at the cases of Stephen Lawrence and Sophie Lancaster.
In form time, via the student bulletin, all students have looked at the relevant articles and suggested strategies and support. The articles are below.
One Kind Word – Student Reflections
This week, to further discuss the important issues raised in our Anti-Bullying Week assemblies, we have also had the opportunity to explore issues around bullying in our English lessons.
Students have looked at the role that social media can play in spreading negativity and cyber-bullying. They have also considered the power of positivity and have discussed the importance of the theme for this year’s Anti-Bullying Week: One Kind Word.
We tasked our students with writing a short speech, explaining why it is important to spread a message of kindness and to encourage others to be more kind. Here are a few extracts from inspirational speeches created by students in Year 7 and Year 10:
“Just smile. It’s contagious. It can start with just one person smiling at someone on the way to school. They then put a smile on their face and smile to someone else. Then they pass it on and soon, lots of people are smiling and you would know that you started it. Be the main character. Smile at someone, today.” Megan H (Y10).
“This year, we should spread kindness. You could spread it in many different ways. An example of this is something as simple as smiling, or holding the door open for someone. One kind word is all you have to say to put a smile on someone’s face. The best way to spread kindness is with the thought of getting no reward.” Sara D (Year 7).
“Saying one kind word can improve someone’s mood and brighten their day. If you treat people with kindness, it creates a domino effect of positivity – by giving a compliment to someone, it can elevate them and they’ll pass on the positivity to others.” Louise P-R and Stevie M (Year 10).
“This week is it Anti-Bullying Week and the theme is ‘One Kind Word’. This is our challenge to you – to spread just one kind word. It’s not that hard, just one simple word is all we are asking for. You might not realise this, but one kind word can go a long way. Even if you only pass on a few kind words, it will mean a lot to whoever you say them to and it will be sure to make them smile and make their day!” Aurora S-W and Chloe A (Year 7)
“A compliment, no matter how small can brighten up someone’s day and after a while, this good deed will come back around to you and your day will also be brightened. Even if you feel like you aren’t good enough, a compliment will help to validate you, even if it is from a complete stranger.” Maia F (Year 10).
“This year and every year from now on, everyone should be kind. You don’t just want to be kind for one day! That won’t make a difference. However, if you are kind every day it will make a difference and make the world a better place. If you smile at someone, then that person smiles to another person and another and another that is spreading kindness. Kindness comes from the heart.” Lucia V (Year 7).
Next week is national Anti-Bullying week and we will be supporting the campaign by celebrating ‘Odd Socks’ day in school. This will take place on Monday 15th November and the girls are invited to wear two different socks, the brighter the better! The rest of your daughter’s school uniform should be worn as normal.
We want to take the opportunity for the students and staff to celebrate Anti-Bullying Week positively. This event is aimed at raising awareness of the issue and we are not asking for any donations. We will be holding assemblies and selling wristbands, rulers, and badges during the week to highlight the issue around bullying and its impact.
The national theme this year is ‘One Kind Word’ and you can get more information on the website below;