St Mary's School joins inspiring Principled Podcast team to discuss Peace Studies
St Mary’s School, Cambridge, recently delighted in the opportunity to participate in the change-making second season of the national ‘Principled Podcast’ series, with Headteacher, Charlotte Avery, school Governor, Dr Amineh Hoti, and Assistant Head (Enrichment & Partnerships), Kate Latham, discussing the school’s innovative new Peace Studies courses.
The podcast episode is now available for listeners to download
and provides a fascinating insight into why St Mary’s School is offering lessons in this subject and the benefits discussions around peace in the classroom can bring to students, teachers, and wider society.
The ‘Principled Podcast’ is run by the team at Making Stuff Better, which provides leadership coaching to international schools. The podcast series focuses on sharing knowledge and strategies for building the healthiest schools and, in turn, strong communities of young people. The team speaks to school leaders, educators, activists, coaches, facilitators, and authors from across the world. This season the podcast is focusing on Organisational Health in schools, education systems and communities across the globe and the team was keen to find out more about St Mary’s new Peace Studies course.
Last year, Dr Hoti, a social anthropologist with world expertise in Peace Studies, led some successful sessions on empathy, listening and peace building for St Mary’s Sixth Form students linking them with young women from Fatimah Jinnah University in Pakistan. These sessions were very well received. Moreover, last academic year, St Mary’s School introduced a new Peace Studies course for its Year 8 pupils. The course was designed to equip students with the necessary skills and understanding to navigate conflicts peacefully and promote empathy and understanding.
Charlotte Avery, Headteacher at St Mary’s School, said:
“Being part of this podcast was an excellent experience and presented an opportunity to share our novel approach to delivering peace-focused lessons. It is a positive and thought-provoking story, which we believe can be replicated in other educational settings. Teaching Peace Studies helps our students gain the necessary skills to resolve conflicts in a considered, confident, compassionate manner. We live in increasingly volatile and complex times and believe it is vital for our young people to build peaceful perspectives of the world around them. This is pivotal when they are building their own identities and values. Equipping the younger generation with the skills needed to build healthy relationships and problem solve in ways that respect others and value differing opinions, means our world will benefit now and in the future.”
St Mary’s Peace Studies course involves six hours of taught sessions, which are then followed by group project time. The outcome is group presentations assessed on key criteria including oracy skills, strategy planning, intellectual confidence, ‘big picture’ thinking, critical thinking, multi-step problem solving, flexible thinking, fluent thinking, and originality.
You can listen to the Principled Podcast episode featuring the St Mary's School team talking about its Peace Studies course here