A Charter for Education in Waltham Forest

Our Community, Our Schools wants this Charter to be a living document amended through consultation, debate and discussion by the people of our borough. Please feel free to use the comment box to tell us what you think, or email us using our contact page.

A Charter for Education in Waltham Forest

Schools that are fair and open to all

We believe that our schools should be open to all children, regardless of their ability, their parents’ income, their ethnicity, their religion or their beliefs. Schools are great forces for promoting community cohesion in our society. They are places where we can all mix and where our children can play together and develop together. They should challenge and remove, discrimination, segregation and prejudice rather than entrenching them. That’s why every school should make sure that its admissions and other policies actively promote equality and fairness for all.

Schools that provide a rounded and challenging education for all children

Our schools are at the core of our children’s education and development. All of them must be expected and supported so that they can unleash our childrens’ fullest potential. Education is not just about marks, grades, tests and scores. It’s also about constantly stretching and challenging children, widening horizons and empowering them to develop in the most rounded way possible. That includes play and social recreation. When children play and socialise in our schools they are developing as much in the classroom. That’s why all schools should have: a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum that encourages them to explore the world around them, ask questions and think for themselves; unbiased, fact-based and non-judgmental Sex and Relationship Education; proper facilities, resources and time to support play as integral to their education.

Schools that are safe places

Our schools should be places where our children are safe and looked after while they learn, play and develop together. Our children spend a large amount of these crucial developmental years in our schools. Even with the best facilities and the best teaching, a child who is bullied, sexually harassed, or who is subject to homophobic or racist taunts is unlikely to be a happy child and unlikely to get the best out of their education. That’s why safety and a culture of inclusion are as important as academic achievement for their development. Parents should have confidence that their child’s school is a safe, nurturing place where their child will be free to learn and grow without fearing for their safety.

Schools that are part of and work for their communities

A school is a complicated social institution, rooted in and belonging to many communities. Our schools are community assets, built up and funded out of all of our taxes, employing people from across London and serving generation after generation of local families. They do not and should not belong to any one group. Schools are also part of a national system and their actions affect people and families from far beyond their catchment areas. That’s why all our schools need to be completely transparent and accountable to the public and open to our whole community. Every school should regularly publish the minutes of its governing body, together with all relevant papers and full details of its expenditure and performance. Schools of all kinds should ensure that they have mission statements that commit them to working collaboratively with other schools in their community and with the democratically elected local authority.

Schools that involve their communities

Our schools should strive to involve the whole community in school life. Strong schools are those which are deeply rooted in our diverse community and can draw on the active support and involvement of all their stakeholders in governance and decision-making. That’s why we think that all schools should have a broad-based and genuinely democratic governing body that can fully represent staff, pupils, parents and elected representatives of our local authority and which works to uphold democratic values and practices at the school.

Schools that value their staff

The teachers and support staff who work in our schools day in and day out are their biggest asset and our schools should look after them. Teachers and support staff care for, support, nurture and educate our children for these crucial years of their development. We want to know that they are properly professionally qualified, paid fairly based on their vocation not on bogus measures of performance and have the best possible working conditions. They should also have their own independent voice on governing bodies and in trade unions that can represent them individuals and collectively.

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