‘Allow us to tell you what we are thinking or feeling. Whether our voices are big or small, whether we whisper or shout it, or paint, draw or mime it – listen to us and hear what we say.’ (Castle, 2000, Article 12)
The Avanti Way Pupil Charter has been designed for children, by children. Based on the 7 statements of the Avanti Way, it is a child-friendly document written by the PSHE Ambassadors of Avanti Court. This talented group of pupil leaders had a vision: they felt that the original statements should be re-imagined, enabling their peers to think about, act upon, and share the Avanti Way in words that they can interpret and explain.
The Charter is a powerful vehicle for pupil advocacy, placing children at the centre of decision-making that will impact their lives and how they are lived. Children learn best by example. Therefore, we must involve our whole school community to embed the language and reasoning so that children not only understand the Avanti Way, but choose it through their learning and behaviours. PSHE Ambassador Adithya (Year 6) explained:
‘Everyone is a learner at Avanti, including teachers, admin staff and parents. the Pupil Charter should be up in the main office, the staffroom, even the kitchen – then everyone can see it and follow the Avanti Way!’
Implementing the Avanti Way Pupil Charter:
The statements of the Charter are being embedded across the school one at a time. Our ambassadors are taking the lead on supporting children and staff in its implementation through our spiral, future proof PSHE Curriculum.
The work of Bruner (1960) introduced the concept of a spiral curriculum, which has two important features: firstly, the repetition and practising of skills already learned, and secondly, the ‘continual deepening and broadening’ of knowledge. (Bruner 1960, p 330). A spiral curriculum supports the full potential of the child, who like a curve, advances to higher levels through upward, expansive, and limitless learning experiences. We must consider that PSHE skills should be part of – not separate to – every aspect of a child’s life and daily experience, and structure our curriculum accordingly. The Avanti Way pupil charter is essential to this process because it is a tangible way to connect children with our three drivers: Educational Excellence, Character Formation and Spiritual Insight. With the help of the Charter, we can combine the systematic teaching of skills and competencies with plenty of rich opportunities for children to apply them every day: in the playground, lunch hall, in their homes, communities and beyond. This will ensure pupils are engaged in meaningful, purposeful learning that meets their needs now, as well as future-proof learning that will still be relevant in 10, 20 years and 50 years’ time. (Hughes, 2019 p55-61)
Impact: The Journey Continues:
The first statement, known as ‘Avanti Way 1’, is now fully embedded and its impact can be seen through children’s written and spoken outcomes. What is so striking is the self-awareness pupils are showing when self-regulating their feelings and behaviour. They apply high quality vocabulary to explain why values-based skills and strategies are relevant to their lives and future, and crucially, they reflect on how they can use them to help others:
‘Avanti Way 1 is about having high expectations for myself, which means I can be a role-model to others. I take responsibility for my own behaviour because others are always watching and learning from me – at school, at home and wherever I go.’ (Sawoni, Year 6)
‘Avanti Way 1 is about owning my own learning: to persevere, to push myself to reach my goals, and to achieve a better style of living which I can share with others. That is how I know I will be ready for secondary school.’
(Rowan, Year 6)
The Avanti Way Pupil Charter is another tool in our armour that we can use to develop an internal moral compass within our children. If we support children’s understanding of the seven statements, they will be better equipped to choose the Avanti Way, which will anchor them in our changing world and help to keep them safe throughout their lives. We know that life can be unpredictable and whilst we cannot control the kinds of situations our children will face, we can empower them to respond positively, to choose wisely, and to turn towards the light in all they do.
Castle, C (2000) For Every Child: The Rights of the Child in Words and pictures. China: Midas Printing
Hughes, D (2019) Future Proofing Your School. UK: Critical Publishing Ltd
Bruner, JS (1960) The Process of Education. UK: Harvard University Press