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Designing a place where stolen voices can be heard.

As teachers we are given a certain amount of freedom to design and deliver a curriculum to students that best meets your children’s needs. The KS3 curriculum is constantly being revised and redesigned to adapt to the students changing world. As a team of Humanities teachers, we therefore reflect each academic year on how best to broaden the horizons of our fantastic young people, reflect on our ARCH values and support children to deal with the complex issues of the twenty first century.

How do we respond to BLM? Are students aware of the struggles of minority groups? Do we reflect on the impact of our actions upon the environment? Do we challenge the “white saviour” narrative of British history? These are a few of the questions we wrestled with in September that subsequently led us as teachers to draw in “stolen voices” into our curriculum.

Yes, education is about equipping our students to have the best qualifications so that their life choices are broader. But we believe that living “life in all its fullness” does not come about solely as a result of having better job and consequently higher earnings. Our values of respect and charity are rooted in our belief that “life in all its fulness” comes about as a result of students being aware of their place in the world. How their world has been impacted by historical and geographical events and how in turn they can contribute culturally to a more respectful and empathetic world.

To give you a flavour of how this questioning of the purpose and intent behind our curriculum impacts what students learn in lessons we only have to look at this week. Year 7 are currently analysing the impact of the Mali, Zimbabwean and Mongol Empires upon the development of European culture. Year 8 are in the midst of reviewing the links between the North Atlantic Slave Trade and the Civil Rights Movements. Year 9 are evaluating the impact of the Partition upon India and Pakistan. ‘Life in all its fulness’ is therefore about a broad curriculum that we hope best prepares our young people for a challenging and ever changing world.