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Democracy and Rule of Law


At Nightingale Primary School we are developing our school council to enable more children to have their voices heard. At the start of every academic year, each child will have the opportunity to put themselves forward as a member of the school council in every year group. The elections of the School Council members will be based solely on pupil votes, reflecting our British electoral system and demonstrating democracy in action. The school council will meet regularly to discuss issues raised in class council meetings. The school council will have a say in how money is spent, how the school runs, will have input into their curriculum and have the opportunity to suggest changes and new ideas they would like to see in their school. The school council will strive to organise charity work throughout the school year to benefit both the local community, the wider community and those less fortunate overseas. This fostering of commitment to charities is another way in which we teach a sense of Britishness.


Each year the children decide upon their class charter and the rights associated with these. All the children contribute to the drawing up of the charter.


The Rule of Law

The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Pupils are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken.


Positive behaviour management strategies are implemented throughout the school and rules and expectations are reinforced through school assemblies and every day in class.

The children in Year 5 learned about Nelson Mandela and how life was like for him. They wrote their own Diary entry based on what they had discovered about life in the prison cell. Here is an example of one of the diaries written by Sophie Mcleish


Dear Diary,

Today has been another hard working, unfair day. I can’t believe that they are treating us like this. This was my day.


I was woken up again by the sound of the ear shattering bell and the guards yelling, “Word wakker! Stann op!” (Wake up! Get up!). It was only five thirty in the morning. I didn’t feel as if I could stand another painstaking day. I couldn’t wake up, but just thinking about the ten lashes from the dreaded whip had woken me up. My wound from last week had only just healed up. Then we had to clean our cells and roll up our mats ready for inspection at six forty five am. My hands were tender and red. I couldn’t bear any more but I was starving, I needed this breakfast. Although I knew it was going to be horrible, I needed it, so I kept on going. Time was up, had I done enough?


In the distance, I heard a jingle that I recognised. The guard’s keys were in his pocket at the end of the corridor shaking up and down. The rattle made me shudder with nerves and I had goose bumps all over. Immediately, I did up three buttons and doffed my hat. It was then I heard the guard shout! Whip! My neighbour screamed in agony as the whip lashed his arm, traveling with speed he flew through the air. Crash! The guard had punched him in the nose and made it bleed. He hit the wall and fell to the ground. I stood bolt upright and stared out of my cell waiting for him to appear. Boom! Boom! I heard the guard’s footsteps as he walked towards my cell. All of the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as he started to scan me all over. Fortunately, he could not find anything wrong with my uniform. Crack! My cell was unlocked and he walked into examine my mat. Luckily, everything was fine. He gave me the stare and walked to another cell. I breathed a sigh of relief.


At last it was time for breakfast. I was even hungrier than usual because I didn’t have any breakfast last night. This was because my cell wasn’t clean enough when the guard came in for inspection. Although it was never a very exciting meal, breakfast was my favourite meal of the day. I think it is because I am always so hungry. Breakfast every morning is mealie pap porridge, which is made from maize and corn. It tastes horrible! I always thought that it was unfair how Indian prisoners and cooks get better food than us but I was too scared to say anything as I knew what would happen if I did. As usual, my food was spun through the bars of my cell and I caught it making sure nothing was spilt. I shoved it in my mouth and swallowed it whole. I sobbed as it scratched my throat on the way down.


When breakfast was over, I carried my bowl and cup down to the kitchen and rinsed it in cold water. I put it in the cupboard and lined up ready for our morning job. I secretly hoped that it wasn’t a painful one. We were led out to the yard and were told to sit on the cold concrete floor. I hated any job that involved sitting on the floor because it was so tough and uneven.


The guards, who were now grinning nastily, started to reach into a big black sack and hand out some weirdly shaped rocks. Suddenly, everyone knew what we had to do. As they were handing out these odd shaped rocks the size of a beach ball, they were telling everyone how they wanted us to chip them into tiny pebbles. Luckily for us, we were all handed a hammer and chisel to work with. Just thinking about the painful work until noon was making me bored. The other prisoners were slowing down and getting shouted at but for once that was not me.


After what seemed like days of agonising work, the bell was rung and the guards started to shout. Everyone lined up and gazed upon the metal bucket. We waited for it to be opened. The lid was lifted off and the meal was revealed. I sighed. As usual, the barrel was filled with mealies and corn with the additional meat and veg. I waited patiently in the line, with my bowl, for what seemed like hours of being stranded on a desert island with no food or water. Eventually, I got there. When we had our portion, we were told to sit in the same places that we chipped stones in earlier. I was careful not to spill any whilst I was eating as inspection was always strait after a meal. We were then given a “drink of strength” that was called phuzamandla. It was a soup like mixture that looked like coffee. It tasted horrible.


Once lunch was over, we all went back to chipping stones until four pm. It felt as if I had just done a year of agonising work. When the bell rang again, we had to rush to the wash room and clean ourselves. For once, I was actually grateful to have a cold seawater bath. This was not the bath I loved and enjoyed at home, we had to bath in a huge metal bucket with ice cold, salty water inside. As much as I liked to relax whilst washing, I had to keep my pace because I did not want to get punished by the dreaded whip I avoided earlier. As soon as four thirty pm came closer, I washed faster and faster. Finally the time came. The rattle from an old, creaky door was getting louder and louder until it stopped. That told us that dinner was in our cells.


Luckily, for dinner it was katkop. A piece of bread shaped like a cats head and a small bit of butter to spread with our fingers. Before I knew it, 8 o’clock had arrived and the night warder had already locked himself in with us. Quickly, me and my neighbour Dave sprinkled some sand from our pockets so that we could hear the night warders footsteps as we were reading. Because we are studying, me and Dave can read until ten or eleven. Behind the bars I was waiting for him to walk by.


Well that was my day. I would love for tomorrow to be different but inside I know it will just be the same. I hope I dream about my beautiful wife Winnie again. That is what is keeping me going all this way. I will write to you again tomorrow. Good night!

Nelson Mandela