At New College School we believe in preparing our boys to become responsible citizens. There are various ways that we approach this. Fundamentally we encourage them to treat others with dignity and respect, no matter who they are. The school’s code of conduct and anti-bullying policy includes respect for difference, whatever that difference may be, and our rewards and sanctions policy runs parallel to that code of conduct.
We also encourage pupils to learn about and understand issues surrounding equality and equity, preparing them to engage with the world in such a way that they actively resist inequality and exclusion. We promote and celebrate the value of diversity in its many forms. Every Monday in assembly we learn about major religious festivals that are happening around the world that week. The Headmaster also promotes a ‘person of the week’ and ‘artwork of the week’. The people represented are chosen to cover a diversity of backgrounds and protected characteristics, and they are often chosen to celebrate the contributions they have made in promoting equality and diversity in their societies. Our curriculum is structured to ensure that pupils encounter the achievements of a diversity of people in different countries around the world. The boys are encouraged to understand that some differences, including neurodiversity, are not always immediately obvious, but still need to be understood, respected, and celebrated.
We encourage the boys to understand the importance of being active citizens as part of a wider society. To that end, they learn about the fundamental values of the UK political system, encountering national and international issues in regular ‘news round-ups’ in assembly. These focus on the need for understanding of different views and backgrounds, and the importance of diversity within a healthy democracy wherein individual liberty and the rule of law are upheld. Our guest speakers in our weekly chapel services are invited to represent a diversity of backgrounds. Our pupils also get to encounter other students beyond their own community through our partnership work with local schools, and with schools in different parts of the world (currently in Nepal, France and Sweden).
NCS pupils are also encouraged to take part in activities that mirror those of an active and healthy democracy in the wider world. They take part in mock elections to mirror those that take place on the national stage, and they have multiple opportunities to have their voices heard in our school-wide pupil committees: our school council, charity committee and eco-committee. Our charity work actively supports organisations that complement our approach to responsible citizenship, raising money for different local, national and international charities each term.