Citizenship involves developing the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enable people to make their own decisions and to take responsibility for their own lives and communities. Within the trust, we want our primary and secondary school students to develop into rounded young adults who understand their character and play active roles in their communities. The Personal Development curriculum has been created to incorporate our Oasis Ethos, Oasis 9 Habits, and Character Curriculum to ensure students flourish in a safe school environment and are empowered to become ‘Active Citizens’ within their Academies and Communities.
Being an Active Citizen involves speaking up, for example during Anti-bullying week, our secondary academies looked at what it means to be an Upstander rather than a Bystander and how to support others who are being bullied.
Our students learn about prejudice and discrimination and why it is important to challenge these issues. They gain an understanding of why some people are prejudiced, why it is difficult to tackle these issues and where to seek support for themselves or others, if they are being discriminated against.
A common misconception is that reporting issues such as bullying, or discrimination is wrong or unfair. This, however, is incorrect. It is never acceptable to bully someone or treat them differently because of their beliefs, race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Within the trust we celebrate diversity and champion inclusivity and our founder, Steve Chalke was the first church minister to speak out about gay marriage as he believed discriminating against who someone falls in love with is wrong.
Our secondary students begin their time at Oasis learning about Steve’s work within the community, how Oasis started, how they could become ‘Upstanders’ and start being involved in change. They learn about the different types of communities and how these evolved, how to support within the community, either by volunteering, raising money for charity or standing up for what they believe in. This continues throughout their time in secondary education and all our academies have an exciting range of opportunities for young people to become involved in and to develop their own unique range of skills, to understand how to stand up for their beliefs and effectively challenge misconceptions and inappropriate behaviour.
Our primary year groups explore in depth, each of the British Values including, Democracy, Rule of Law, Mutual Respect, Tolerance and Individual Liberty. They take part in a variety of elections, learn about democracy and how rules and laws are made democratically. They also explore prejudice and discrimination by learning ways to challenge thinking and behaviours associated with discriminatory behaviours and attitudes.
Similarly, our secondary students learn about elections, voting and the different types of government. They look at case studies on different regimes, the differences between a democracy, an autocracy, a theocracy, and a dictatorship and how this affects the people who live within those regimes. All this links to our Oasis ethos and 9 habits and we consider how people would feel if they didn’t have a voice. This helps our young people to develop an understanding of the challenges other people face and to empathise with those.
Our students are encouraged to stand up for what they believe in, use their voices to facilitate change and we know that our young people leave us, with the skills and knowledge to be ‘Upstanders’ and to use their voices for both them and others. Together, we are stronger. Together, we can make changes.