Discovery One Year On [Video]
Discovery Primary School
INTERFAITH EXPLORERS: HELPING PROMOTE INTERFAITH UNDERSTANDING AT DISCOVERY PRIMARY SCHOOL
Discovery Primary School helps children to navigate, respect and value the cultural diversity of modern Britain using Interfaith Explorers
Following on from its high profile launch at the London Central Mosque last year, Interfaith Explorers has had a great first year with the resource gaining official support from UNESCO and becoming a trusted resource for UK schools. The resource is continuing to have an impact in schools across the UK as seen at Discovery Primary School which is one of the best places in the UK to see at firsthand how school children navigate the diverse cultural terrain of modern Britain.
Helping its pupils to respect and value religious and cultural diversity has been a key objective for the school as its student population has increased over the past few years, reflecting Peterborough’s new migrant communities who have been drawn to the city in recent years.
Becoming three-form entry in September 2011, Discovery is a larger than average primary school with 500, rising to 620, pupils with an above-average number from ethnic minority groups, including those from Muslim and Jewish backgrounds. Twenty-two languages are represented in the school.
So when Headteacher Anne Hampson heard about the Interfaith Explorers bank of resources to promote interfaith understanding she saw an immediate application for it.
“We are a changed school,” she said. “While we’ve always had an international focus and felt that we wanted to teach our children about all different faiths, the new make-up of the school made that even more important. With Interfaith Explorers, I really like their angle that, ok, we may all have a different religion, but we also have a tremendous number of things in common,” she said.
This premise, that there is more that unites us than divides us, is at the heart of the Interfaith Explorers programme. It is a UNESCO-endorsed free online primary educational learning resource designed to add value to RE and PSHE lessons and to develop core personal and social competencies.
It is based on an idea by Professor Nasser David Khalili, founder and chair of The Maimonides Foundation a charity committed to encouraging dialogue, co-operation and understanding between the three Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - through cultural and academic programmes. School improvement specialists EdisonLearning developed the resource and organise and support it on an on-going basis.
“Education is a great way of promoting community cohesion and the Interfaith Explorers resources are very good at demonstrating the commonality between faiths. Getting on together is what we are about at this school and this promotes it."
Designed to give teachers a trustworthy bank of resources to use when helping pupils explore different faiths, the Interfaith Explorers programme is highly interactive and promotes enquiry-based learning.
Published in Christian Today, 17 August 2013