Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. Older pupils are given the opportunity to explore and consider the balance between rights, responsibilities, diversity, and belonging that make up daily life in a diverse country like Great Britain. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand, and exercise their rights and personal freedoms, and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through E-safety and PSHCEE lessons. Liberty is examined in many areas of the curriculum. For example, in GCSE Philosophy & R.S., students study the free will and determinism debate, and think about whether we are in control of our lives or whether our biology and background are. They learn how liberty can be taken away from people in human trafficking, and how it can be undermined through exploitative labour practices. In History, students are taught the importance of individual liberty through study of the French Revolution, the slave trade, and the Suffragette movement.
The school is working towards UNICEF’s ‘Rights Respecting Schools Award’ which makes all students aware off their rights and responsibilities. The practice of ‘Restorative Justice’ is practised by the school. This fosters the students’ awareness of their own freedom and autonomy, and encourages them to take ownership of their behavioural choices, as well as requiring them to take responsibility for making better choices going forward.
In the Humanities – Philosophy & R.S., History, and Geography – students gain a broad and balanced understanding of the society in which they live. Across the curriculum, students develop the cognitive and linguistic skills required to empower them by enabling them to express and act upon their liberty, both in school and in the wider world. Philosophy lessons further “provide pupils with the opportunity to learn how to argue and defend points of view”.*
Pupils are encouraged to make choices based on their interests by joining a broad range of Enrichment clubs and activities. Many students practice and develop their autonomy by taking on leadership roles. A sample of such opportunities available to them are Prefects, the Equality Team, Digital Leaders, Debate Club (Symposium), Form Captains, Human Rights Ambassadors, Mental Health and Mindfulness Ambassadors, History Ambassadors, and School Council Representatives.