Note from our Head
Walking around school and having the opportunity to see the key worker children in person, as well as being able to pop into lessons with those who are online makes me so proud to see how they have adapted in such a resilient, positive and enthusiastic way to the new way of living and learning. However, there is no doubt that the current 'world order' does make great demands on, and pose challenges and uncertainties to, us all. Children are having to navigate their way around new routines and dynamics at home and at school, and may well be wondering how their voice, feelings and thoughts are able to be heard and addressed.
As is so often the case, it is in Early Years pedagogy that we find help and due regard being paid to this important matter. A basic principle of the EYFS framework allows children to express their voice through making choices, giving opinions and ideas and expressing their emotions. This in turn promotes and develops their sense of self-worth and self-esteem, thus helping them to understand that they are valued, important and have a place in the world. Confidence and resilience are consequently developed as children play, explore, learn in an active way and think critically, knowing that their contribution is respected and acknowledged.
As they get older at Oakfield, we develop pupil voice by giving opportunities to contribute to the running and development of the school via the School Council, where the elected members share their ideas, experiences and ambitions for the school. The minutes of their meetings go to the Senior Team so that we can act on suggestions as appropriate and add the children's contribution into the School Development Plan.
I am delighted that we have now begun our participation for the children in Years 1-6 in Votes for Schools, which I am confident will give a great opportunity for them to explore and express their reactions and thoughts concerning the wider world issues which they may have questions, concerns or strong opinions about. The debates are linked to highly topical, current issues (such as Brexit and vaccination in recent weeks), and the voting platform enables each school to see how its children have voted compared to the picture nationally. Votes for Schools then works in collaboration with bodies such as government departments, the police, media, celebrities and charities who are able to show the children how their voice is being heard.
Allowing children to have a voice is stated as a basic right by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and I am proud of the way in which Oakfield plays its part in this. However, it is also true to say that the right to be listened to and taken seriously is not something that many children across the world enjoy, and it remains our duty to teach our children to be mindful of this as they grow and their voice is developed on behalf of others.