Ashfield Girls' High School
Challenging girls today, creating women of value for the future
Community Relations, Equality and Diversity (CRED)
With the recent introduction of the Department of Education’s CRED policy, we at Ashfield Girls’ High School are committed to developing a diverse school community, promoting a culture of inclusivity in which there are high expectations and aspirations for all young people in our care.
In Ashfield we aim to create women of value for the future by educating our young people to appreciate the world around them and to develop respect for themselves and others. Though providing a wealth of opportunities in both formal and non-formal educational settings, we promote equality and work to eliminate discrimination, by providing our young people with opportunities to build relationships with those of different backgrounds and traditions within the resources available.
- To ensure that all of our pupils, at each stage of their development have an understanding of and respect for the rights, equality and diversity of all without discrimination.
- To educate our young people to live and participate in a changing world, so that they value and respect difference and engage positively with it, taking account of the ongoing intercommunity divisions arising from conflict and increasing diversity within our society.
- To equip our pupils with the skills, attitudes and behaviours needed to develop mutual understanding and recognition of, and respect for, difference.
Exploring CRED within Key Stage 3: Past Projects
Together through Culture:
Mrs S Simpson along with 8S, had the opportunity to forge links with Coláiste Feirste over a 8 week period, where pupils from both schools had the opportunity to explore each other’s cultural music and dance. The pupils also had the opportunity of a taster of Ulster Scots and Gaelic dialect. This programme was supported by both Together through Culture and International Fund for Ireland.
During the spring and summer terms, Mrs R Strange and ten Year 8 students teamed up with St. Louise’s College to provide ‘pupils with a voice’ about their own identity and culture and to dispel myths surrounding different cultures through Drama and Media studies. The students were inspired to investigate and challenge the world around them through this Sharing in Education programme, which was funded by the International fund for Ireland and was led by the media group Headliners.
Throughout the seven workshops held in both schools, pupils were encouraged to confidently express their opinions and thoughts about life as a teenager in Belfast. Discussions about community, identity and culture provided a wealth of material that the girls built into their original drama pieces. The end product, three profound and moving short films, truly captured the essence of the programme – mutual understanding and confident expression of identify.
Intergenerational Coffee Morning:
On Thursday 8th November, 8S from Ashfield Girls’ High School had a coffee morning with a difference; they were joined by past pupils and teachers from Templemore Avenue School as part of an Intergenerational project, run by Link NI and the East Belfast Community Development Agency. This was the culmination of 3 sessions in which our pupils and the TAS group looked at perceptions they had of the elderly and the youth of today.
Both groups left saying they had learned something new about the other generation and they thoroughly enjoyed their time together. The TAS group was so impressed with the state of the art school that they want to come back to Ashfield for an interactive, ICT History lesson! They have also offered to teach the Ashfield pupils an old fashioned needlework lesson.
Learning and Educating Together (LET) programme:
Ten Year 9 pupils participated in this year’s LET programme, a cross border and cross community initiative, targeting 12-13 year olds. This residential based programme combines enterprise education, outdoor activities and personal development in order to challenge young people among peers from different community backgrounds to step out of their comfort zone. The programme is based on creating a positive shared space and shared education ethos with participating schools.
This year we were partnered with Corpus Christi College and Grange Post Primary, Sligo. Throughout the three residentials, the pupils had the opportunity to challenge themselves and each other. All the pupils involved had a fantastic time.
“The LET programme was really fun and I had an amazing experience. It taught me that it doesn’t matter what religion or background you come from, we are all equal and should all be treated the same.” – Rebekah Cuthbert 9S
This year 9S participated in the Cinemagic Project Reel Frontiers, a cross community initiative that brought together Ashfield Girls’ and Saint Rose’s High School. Ashfield made two visits to Saint Rose’s where they enjoyed viewing films and taking part in workshops that explored conflict and discrimination. We also had the opportunity to host two events, welcoming Saint Roses’s for more films and related activities.
Five fortunate students were then selected to take part in the next stage of the project, in which they collaborated with students chosen from around Northern Ireland to create their own short film to be premiered in the Odyssey this October.
Entwined Histories Project:
Since January, Year 10 History students have participated in the Entwined Histories Project for Co-Operation Ireland. Four workshops, based in the stunning new Skainos building, engaged students from Wallace High School, Assumption Grammar and Lagan College, to develop an understanding of the considerable contribution made by Northern Ireland to the growth of industry in the UK during the twentieth century and an empathy for the dock workers’ position during this period.
Inner East Belfast Schools’ Community Safety Project:
This year 10L participated in the Inner East Belfast Schools’ Community Safety Project within Learning for Life and Work lessons. The fifteen week programme offered the opportunity to learn, discuss and debate issues around Anti-Social Behaviour, Drug and Alcohol Abuse and other relevant social issues, enabling students to understand the enormous impact these problems have on young people today.
Learning for Life & Work Project:
As part of our application for Microsoft Expert Educator, Mrs Cripps and her Yr 10 class carried out a project investigating girls’ rights in education across the world. They researched 6 countries- Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, UK/Ireland (Travelling Community), Tanzania and Bangladesh.
The pupils had to make a documentary about how for those girls education may not be freely available and create an idea to help solve the problem; such as developing an NGO or writing a letter to an influential figure. Two of the letters written by Saahirah Khan and Hannah Sloan, were posted to both David Cameron and Peter Robinson.
The idea behind the project was think locally, act globally.
Parents and Friends Association: TATI course for Parents
In June, Ashfield Girls’ Parent & Friends Association held a three week course facilitated by FASA, inviting parents to learn about topical issues affecting the lives of teenagers today. This successful course helped both parents and staff to understand the pressures which affect the everyday lives of our girls.