Can one text help schools to raise achievement in geography, promote inclusion and combat inequality? For the last two years, Woodberry Down Community Primary School in Hackney has been developing an innovative approach to geography planning that has resulted in some remarkable work. The school, situated in one of the most deprived areas of the country, serves a culturally-diverse population where 25% of the pupils are refugees and over 60% are entitled to free school meals. This resource focuses on a project based around the book Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah (2001), published by Bloomsbury.
Refugee Boy is an incredibly powerful and compelling story that engages pupils with all the issues surrounding being a refugee. The central character, Alem, is a role model who young children readily engage with.
There are three key subject areas in the Refugee Boy topic: literacy, geography and PSHCE. The topic also embraces maths, ICT and, crucially, a strong and relentless theme about equality and inequality - therefore this resource is an excellent way of linking a number of subjects across a whole school curriculum.
The resource provides planning tips and ideas for learning activities but most important of all it emphasises the need to evaluate strategies and to find ways of dealing with difficult issues such as community cohesion that suit the particular school and community that each teacher works within.