Manorside School wins Accord Award

March 2, 2010

Manorside Primary School in North London has won a prestigious new award for inclusivity, with runners up being the Anglo-European School in Essex and Balshaw’s Church of England High School in Leyland, Lancashire.

The award was presented by Baroness Kishwer Falkner who complimented the school on its values and ethos:

“I was impressed by the energetic and cheerful way Manorside went about its work of educating and integrating its interesting and varied community, particularly the way it saw its multi-ethnic base not as a problem but as an opportunity to widen the knowledge and experience of its children.”.

Among the activities of the school remarked on by the judges were:

  • A refugee week, which involved parents, refugee speakers from Afghanistan, Ethiopian and Sierra Leone and a talk from a school governor who had escaped Nazi persecutio
  • Links with local Jewish, Roman Catholic and community schools.
  • A Language of the Month—in which ‘language ambassadors’ teach their peers basic words in the featured language and the register is answered in that language.
  • Open community admissions arrangements complemented by “excellent” (Ofsted) induction procedures and a buddying system.
  • Inclusive recruitment of governors and teachers, who represent a wide range of linguistic, ethnic and belief backgrounds.
  • Assemblies cover a wide range of religious and non religious themes, with the involvement of staff, parents and outside speakers.
  • A broad RE syllabus which covers a broad range of beliefs, including partnerships with compliamentary schools, local arts groups and religious organisations.

The award was sponsored by the Accord Coalition, which links both religious and secular organizations in campaigning for inclusive education and against religious discrimination in schools.

The Chair of Accord, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, praised all the finalists:

“At a time when some schools are hitting the headlines for the divisive nature of their religious syllabus or their discriminatory admissions procedures, it is good to highlight those who promote inclusivity and tolerance. These are the schools which will ensure the social health of 21st century Britain and which will help the next generation to grow up at ease with itself.”

The panel of judges was a diverse mix of figures from former bishop, the Rt Revd Richard Holloway, to humanist Polly Toynbee, who commented:

“Schools deserve to be recognised for the efforts they make to give a balanced education on religion. The best schools open children’s eyes to the array of systems of belief and encourage them put their own beliefs into a rational perspective. This prize celebrates those who do it well, often under religious pressures on many fronts.”

The judges also included the former Secretary of State for Education Lord (Kenneth) Baker who declared:

“I warmly support the Accord Award for Inclusivity – which also has All-Party support – because it recognises the importance of inclusiveness particularly in faith schools in our education system.”

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