At St Mary Magdalene Academy our specialism is Humanities and Global Citizenship. That might sound a little unusual, but we think it’s a pretty smart idea.
The world is joined up – through travel, trade and technology – in a way it has never been before. In the 21st century, we have come to recognise that all people are members of one world community and that all bear responsibilities to each other. But not only is this an economic and social reality, it is also at the heart of traditional Christian belief.
Our country occupies a unique position in this world: at the heart of the European Union, linked by language and historical ties to the United States, linked by history and population to countries around the world that are part of the Commonwealth.
Through bodies like the United Nations and its different agencies, Britain remains a political player on the modern global stage, while British companies trade worldwide every hour of the day. Our own city, London, with its myriad cultures and languages and traditions, has been called ‘a world in one city’.
UK citizens must be equipped with a global understanding. As our children grow up, they will be competing for jobs with people from across the planet, not just people down the street. And many of the issues we now face can only be faced internationally. They include sustainable development, climate change, cultural diversity and global economic inequality.
Knowledge and understanding of these key concepts permeates the curriculum. We see service and participation as part of every child’s experience at the Academy. We do not just ‘think globally’, we also ‘act locally’.
The Humanities subjects have a key role in promoting understanding of these concepts. All pupils study History and Geography at Key stage 3 and take one of these at GCSE. Religious Education is studied at Key Stages 3 (by all) and at Key Stage 4 (for all in Pathway 10 and available as an option in Pathway 8). These subjects provide a basis for pupils to confirm and challenge their own and others’ beliefs, from a position of mutual understanding and regard.
The modern world provides unparalleled opportunities for young people to have direct experience of others’ cultures, beliefs and environments, particularly through the new communications technologies and the ease of international travel.
Our aim is that each pupil will participate in ‘live’ contacts with other countries as part of their St Mary Magdalene education. This is designed to counter the subtle forces which lead to insular attitudes and intolerance, helping pupils mature as global citizens.
St Mary Magdalene has the International School Award. It is awarded by the British Council and encourages us to forge links with partner schools around the world, enhance our curriculum and prepare our pupils for life as global citizens. We currently have drop down days and global events punctuating the year. Part of the international experience for some pupils comes from our association with Deloitte Consulting, who run a Globalisation Day with Year 9 pupils focussed on understanding global differences and responsibilities.
The Academy has strong links with international partner schools and has successful cultural exchanges with them: pupil visits, teacher exchanges and shared projects. Our partner schools are in China, Mexico, Palestine and Senegal.
On an annual basis the pupils and staff vote for the school’s ‘Charity of the Year’ (pictured above) following a school-wide Charity Election organised and led by Year 11 Prefects. Many students interviewed on the day of our Charity Election explained that they chose Save the Children as our 2014-2015 school charity due to its global, as well as local outreach.
Save the Children say:
‘Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. We work in over 120 countries. We save children’s lives; we fight for their rights; we help them fulfil their potential.
We work to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Across all of our work, we pursue several core values: accountability, ambition, collaboration, creativity and integrity.’
School Council Representatives from every year group agreed on a school fundraising target of £3,000.
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First class! Year 10 students take on the challenge of devising a perfect First Class menu for Virgin Trains