Community Cohesion

What is community cohesion?

By community cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community.

 

Common vision

The recently published report of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion takes this agenda forward in the context of rapid change in some local communities. It suggests the importance of “shared futures”, and breaks the original definition of cohesion down into more detail– outlining a cohesive community as one where: “There is a clearly defined and widely shared sense of the contribution of different individuals and different communities to a future vision for a neighbourhood, city, region or country.” This recognises the contribution made by individuals within any community and the fact that people will naturally hold different ambitions, aspirations, beliefs and life experiences. But importantly, it places a strong emphasis on how they will also share important characteristics and experiences with those from their own and different communities.

 

Sense of belonging

In addition, the Commission provides a helpful definition of ‘sense of belonging’ as:

There is a strong sense of an individual’s rights and responsibilities when living in a particular place – people know what everyone expects of them, and what they can expect in turn.
There is a strong sense of trust in institutions locally to act fairly in arbitrating between different interests and for their role and justifications to be subject to public scrutiny.
At Ravenshall School we aim to promote community cohesion and can benefit from meaningful interaction by ensuring opportunities to mix and learn with and from different backgrounds through links with other schools and community organisations for example. 

Through their ethos and curriculum we aim to promote discussion of a common sense of identity and support diversity, showing our pupils how different communities can be united by shared values and common experiences. One of the aims of the new secondary curriculum is for all young people to become responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society and citizenship education offers opportunities for schools to promote community cohesion. The Diversity and Citizenship Curriculum Review published in February 2007 states that:

 

 …we passionately believe that it is the duty of all schools to address issues of ‘how we live together’ and ‘dealing with difference’ however controversial and difficult they might sometimes seem.

 

Here are some of the things we have been involved in.

  • Get Parents Gardening Day
  • Thornhill Lees Library Links
  • Eid celebrations – school celebration of Eid – Dance and Food – Mendhi Painting – use of local business to buy in food as well as parent contributions
  •  Staff visits to  Kirklees Interfaith Centres
  • Ravensthorpe Primary School outreach Art Project
  • Italian Themed Day
  • RE Themed Day – Places of Worship
  • Green Day and My Money Week
  • Spanish Themed Day
  • Latin America – Themed Cultural Day
  • Community Cohesion Art project – Autumn 2010 – Partner schools( Overthorpe/Thornhill J and I/Headfield/Thornhill College – Working with artist: Sarah McDade to create sculptures – working with pupils and parent groups – main sculpture to be sited at entrance to the college.
  • Community Cohesion Meetings – regular network meetings to discuss future collaborations and events
  • Thornhill Community Lantern Festival
  • Eid Celebrations
  •  Harvest Festival Produce- distribution to local community
  • Royal Horticultural Society – Special Needs Project
  • Mind the Gap Theatre – Outreach Workshops – 2 days – Key Stage 3
  • On going links with training institutions to provide work placements and voluntary placements for students – Rathbone Training: Leeds Metropolitan University; St John Fisher School, Dewsbury; Heckmondwike Grammar School; Huddersfield New College: Kirklees College; Huddersfield University; Bradford College; Calderdale and Kirklees Careers;
  • Voluntary Placements for members of the local community  to gain invaluable experience of working with pupils with a  wide range of complex special educational needs
  • Christmas Carols in the Community
  • Local Business – links – CarrGate Nurseries Wakefield/; Ambitions – Mirfield; Greggs Gardens;
  • Kirklees Interfaith Workshop at Oakwell Hall

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