Assemblies, Spiritual Moral Social and Cultural Development & British Values
How our assemblies help to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development along with 'British Values'.
Assemblies play an important part in promoting our pupils spiritual, moral, social and cultural development along with an understanding and acceptance of British Values. Our starting point is to celebrate these qualities and values from the school’s multi-cultural and multi-faith community.
Recent assemblies include:
Cultural heritage of staff – we considered the cultural heritage of a member of staff whose heritage group is not well represented in our school community. The member of staff talked about the ‘journey’ their family underwent to come into the United Kingdom, their faith and how this is celebrated. The member of staff also talked about how very ‘British’ that person felt and what ‘Britishness’ meant to them.
Nelson Mandela – how he promoted equality, democracy and liberty for all races in South Africa, and the willingness to forgive past crimes.
Eid – the spiritual and cultural aspects of this import ant Islamic festival were celebrated through two assemblies, one presented by the pupils and another by staff. We learnt about sacrifice and the importance of charity and how these qualities and behaviour is important irrespective of which background were are drawn from.
Diwali – again through two assemblies led by staff and by pupils, both the Sikh and Hindu traditions' retelling of the festival were celebrated. Values considered included liberty and the respect for different faiths. These assemblies contributed to our pupils’ spiritual and cultural development.
Bonfire night – The children learnt about the actions of Robert Catesby and his co-conspirators to blow up King James I & VI in parliament in 1605. We discussed the factors that contributed to the conspirators taking this extreme action – the mis-treatment and religious intolerance shown to Catholics at that time. We discussed intolerance and how we might overcome intolerance in school. We discussed how important it was to discuss and overcome problems, without resorting to violence or aggression. We also discussed how important it was to have a voice in society – through democracy, making links to both our school council and voting in elections.
Remembrance – pupils and staff commemorated together the sacrifice made by Allied troops from the British Isles, India, the British West Indian Regiment and other Commonwealth countries to defeat fascism and tyranny. We learnt about the horrors of the holocaust and how defeating the Nazi’s promoted the four British Values.
Advent and Christingle – we learnt about advent and how some Christians take part in Christingle services. We made some Christingles thinking about what each part represents and reflecting on how we can use real objects to focus on and think deeply about things. We talked about how Christingle services became popular to support the Children’s Society and we took time to think of those who were less fortunate than ourselves.
Christmas – through our celebration of a nativity and a short and entertaining play led by members of the Aston Churches Together group, we learnt about the important spiritual and cultural features of this festival. All of our community, old and young, those of different faiths, respectfully packed the school hall to enjoy our annual nativity. Term ended with a visit from Father Christmas.
Martin Luther King Day – we learnt about the life of this greater leader inspired both by his Christian faith and the non-violent stance of Ghandi to promote liberty, equality, the rule of law in racially-divided North America. We consider his legacy at As ton Tower where we are all born with equal chances to succeed and that we do not tolerate racism in our school community.
Lent – we learnt about the period of lent and the build up to Easter for some Christians. We learned about the origins of Pancake Day – Shrove Tuesday – and Ash Wednesday and what Christians choose to give up or sacrifice, including different foods. We made links to the fasting that is undertaken by Muslims during Ramadan and Jewish people for Yom Kippur with pupils drawing out the similarities and differences between these religious traditions. Pupils also reflected on positive changes that some people make for lent, learning a new skill or acting kindly to others.
Gandhi – we learnt about Gandhi’s focus on peace and justice and his peaceful approach to eradicating inequality. We considered his view of a peaceful world as one where there is justice; where everyone is treated fairly, where there is no violence and where we can live without fear. We considered Gandhi’s famous quote of, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’, which reminded us that if we want peace, then we need to be peaceful and if we want fairness, we need to treat people fairly. We drew many lessons to support our social and moral development.