The Premier League (PL) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have partnered with one another to use their reach and appeal to encourage primary school children across England and Wales to celebrate diversity.
United by a shared goal to encourage inclusion and inspire people to respect and value individual differences, the sporting organisations have created ‘Roar! for Diversity’, a curriculum-linked PSHE resource and competition for 7-11-year olds. The pack includes lesson plans and video resources featuring contributions from England cricketers Adil Rashid, Sophia Dunkley and Chris Edwards (Captain of the Men’s Learning Disability Cricket Team), as well as Premier League match official Sian Massey-Ellis.
The headteacher, Mark Rigby, and I were really pleased when our school - Lawrence Community Primary School in Wavertree, Liverpool – was chosen for the Roar! for Diversity campaign launch. Our pupils come from all over the world – 28 languages are spoken and 88% of our pupils (we have a 414-pupil roll) speak English as an additional language (EAL).
We already have strong links with the Liverpool Football Club Foundation, so we knew the children were in for a lovely surprise when Liverpool Football club player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cricket World Cup winning Captain Eoin Morgan made their surprise appearance.
It’s a privilege to work in our school. We have bilingual staff and when children first arrive we have support ready and in place for all our EAL children to help with their social language (general vocabulary, how to ask to go to the toilet, etc.) as well as technical language (vocabulary to support their academic achievement). We use lots of visuals and first hand experiences including educational visits in order to support the language development of all our pupils.
A lot of children who arrive may not have prior experience of schooling and may not even speak any English, so need a lot of help with their vocabulary and with settling into school. Settling the children, easing their fears and welcoming them to into the school community are vital first priorities. The Roar! for Diversity resources will help us to ensure every single child feels welcome and included by the whole school.
We already do a lot of work on diversity with all the children. We work with the Anthony Walker Foundation, and through them, all the children have signed up to pledge to respect one another, no matter what their race, religion, ability or appearance.
We also do all sorts of sports - all the usual sports such as cricket and football, but our pupils also have opportunities to experience pony riding, water sports, boccia, new age kurling and many others. Many of our pupils wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to do all these sports as we’re located in a deprived area and it would be unaffordable for many families. However, we believe there’s a sport for everyone and the range of sports mean children will shine at something.
We encourage everybody to participate and cooperation between one another is really encouraged. The children soon appreciate that it’s the participation rather than the winning that counts.
I recall how one KS1 child came to the school speaking little English but through lots of sport participation he learnt things like shaking hands, teamwork, etc. Then a few years later, during a mayor visit, he went up to him - totally unprompted - to shake his hand, saying it was a pleasure to meet him. He was reflecting the values that sport and the school environment had taught him - values such as working together, greeting one another and showing respect for one another. It was a very proud moment.
I welcome the Roar! for Diversity resources as a great addition to some PSHE project work the whole school has previously worked on. There is an emphasis, from nursery upwards, on celebrating differences and working together to be friends – mirroring how sports teams work. This is also reflected in our curriculum intent, based on respecting one another, being open minded, active, independent, respectful, resilient, creative and forward thinking. Sport helps to develop these qualities.
It has been fantastic to have the players from ECB and LFC here and see the children so engaged with the Roar! for Diversity resources. It will be a day the children will always remember.
The resources are available to download for free from PLPrimaryStars.com and ECB’s schools’ partner, ChanceToShine.org. The Key Stage 2 resource will enable teachers to discuss with their class how diversity within a team helps to make it stronger. Pupils can then create an advert celebrating diversity which can be entered into a competition and can win match tickets or a school visit from the Premier League or Cricket World Cup trophies.