The Uganda Humanist Schools Association acts as a consultative and advisory body for humanist schools in Uganda. It operates through a Board comprising the manager and a senior teacher from each member school, a representative of the Uganda Humanist Association (UHASSO), a representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and up to 5 other elected members.
An elected Chairperson is responsible to the Board for carrying out the key functions of the Association, which are to:
- Facilitate cooperation and sharing of good practice among member schools.
- Advance the standard of education in each school by promoting curriculum improvement and professional development for teachers and support staff.
- Establish standards for self-evaluation and facilitate a system of peer inspection.
- Encourage forward planning to achieve ongoing improvement in the standard of education provided in each school.
- Promote broad, inclusive, humanist education in Uganda and communicate with public and private bodies.
- Seek and collectively allocate funds to support Humanist education in Uganda.
- Provide information about humanist schools to parents, guardians and the general public.
- Advise on educational developments and legislation affecting humanist schools.
All schools in membership of the Association must be registered with the Uganda Government Schools’ Directorate and subject to inspection. The schools must agree to provide a broad inclusive general education to the students attending them and to be guided by scientific Humanist principles.
The Humanist principles which the Trustees uphold are those in the description of Humanism provided in the 2002 Amsterdam Declaration of the World Humanist Congress (http://www.iheu.org/amsterdamdeclaration).
New member schools will be coopted as associate members for a probationary period of two years – after which time, if they demonstrate that they fully meet the terms laid down in the Association’s constitution, they may become full members.
All schools are expected to make free or subsidised access to a proportion of needy children.
It is the responsibility of each school’s governing body to provide children with a sound educational experience, to protect their safety and to safeguard their well-being. Standards and quality of education should be monitored by regular peer-review involving senior staff from other humanist schools in the Trust who are trained to carry out this task.
Humanist schools exist for the advancement of education and operate as charities.
The status of each school should be clearly described in the school publicity, so that parents, guardians, external sponsors and others can understand that any financial surplus will be used for the purposes of the school. All schools should have accounts externally audited annually.
Each Humanist school has its own governing board, or equivalent, appoints its own staff and develops its own ethos. The Association Chairman will be invited to nominate a member of the Trust to serve on the panel for senior appointments (above Head of Department level) in each member school. Schools should have a written constitution setting out their purpose and governance. If there is no board of governors, an advisory body or equivalent should be in place.
Existing and new governors should be advised of their responsibilities and be given guidance on their role as governors during their term of office.
The Head or Principal Teacher, who is responsible for the education and welfare of pupils, should be a qualified and experienced member of the teaching profession. In some schools, such as those offering specialist provision, the Head may have alternative, appropriately recognised qualifications.
Teaching staff should have appropriate academic qualifications. Heads, teachers and all staff working with children should be subject to appropriate character checks. Proper contractual procedures should be in place and there should be a framework for continuing professional development and review of all staff.
Students are expected to receive a broad and balanced curriculum, appropriate to their age, stage and individual needs. Information on the curriculum and on assessments should be available to parents and guardians and they should be aware of the school’s procedures for reporting on their children’s progress and on other matters.
Heads and staff in Humanist schools work in close collaboration with parents, guardians and their local communities, and develop a community ethos in school activities. Schools will have parent associations or parent governors. Teachers and students will be represented on the governing body.
School premises and surrounding land need to meet appropriate building regulations, health and safety requirements, fire regulations, and other applicable legislation. Accommodation provided on the school premises should be fit for purpose and suitable for the number, age and sex of the pupils.
Schools are expected to have policies and procedures in place for child protection, anti-bullying, disability, equal opportunities and other matters to promote and safeguard the welfare of the children.
Evaluation and development planning
Each school will conduct a regular review of standards and write up an appropriate evaluation and action report which considers the quality of learning and teaching in schools in relation to the curriculum, support for learning, resources, ethos and management. The report should be available to interested parties including parents, guardians, the local community and national and international sponsors. A copy of the report should be lodged with the Uganda Humanist Schools Association.
Schools are expected to demonstrate that they have been responsive to the key points for action in the reports.
Schools are expected to have business and development plans in place, setting out their priorities for improvement in the context of their overall aims. Plans will cover a three-year cycle and should be regularly monitored and reviewed.
Humanist schools strive to offer a high quality of education within a framework where the focus is on the development and care of the individual child. Students are encouraged to develop their full potential, to participate in a wide range of activities within the school and to contribute to service in the wider community. The schools will demonstrate Humanist values but will avoid all forms of indoctrination.