Happy New Year to you all!

This term’s value is ‘responsibility,’ a value that we revisit more regularly than most others because, along with ‘perseverance’ and ‘forgiveness,’ it is one of our core values.

We have discussed in assembly these last few days how important it is to take responsibility not just for yourself but also for others; that in taking responsibility for/ looking out for others – in particular important others who you are linked to directly- like family, like friends, like the school community- you are also attending to yourself because they help to sustain you in turn; that in taking responsibility for yourself you must be careful not to ‘take’ from/ upset others. We have encouraged the children to dwell on their strengths and what they can do rather than feeling put out or jealous at the strengths of others; to take these strengths and try to use them to ‘give’ of themselves rather than take. If this is all sounding a little convoluted, blame the head teacher and trust the teachers, in the coming weeks, to bring some clarity to the children’s thinking. They will be focusing on taking responsibility for what you say; for managing our anger; for our family and friends and for using our gifts responsibly.

I am really pleased that all of our children now take part in the KS2 communities because they represent a valuable and significant opportunity for the children to take some responsibility for others in school but also beyond school, in the local and wider community. Next week we will be holding interviews for new House Captains. The remit and level of responsibility these children take on seems to grow termly and we are trying to give as many pupils as possible the opportunity. This term we will be holding cooperative sports afternoons again- the aim being for pupils to build valuable experiences of cooperating responsibly as a team.

We have spent some time this week also talking about British Values and how our society expects us to be responsible citizens. Children in KS2, at least, should be able to recall some or all of these values and how they relate to their lives in school and beyond – so please do ask them. To start the conversation off, the most obvious example of democracy in action in school is how, through our School Council, all children have a vote and have a say in how the school should be run.

When it comes to behaviour, we use the words responsibility and forgiveness a lot; a lot more than we use the word ‘behaviour’ which is such a loaded term and usually has negative connotations. We look to encourage our children to take responsibility for their actions; to see mistakes in their behaviour simply as that- mistakes- and hence another very good opportunity for learning. In this sense behaviour is being seen as very much part of the curriculum as opposed to a hindrance to it. We expect the children to be honest about their mistake and, as often as we can, if there is to be some kind of ‘response’ to the mistake, we look for them to take on some kind of responsibility, one that is appropriate to the mistake. A good example I use to illustrate the point with parents was when two older children were laughing (uncharitably) at some younger ones playing in the playground. They became play leaders for a week, after which they felt impelled to sit down and write contrite letters about their actions the previous week and thereafter took on the job of play leading for the rest of the year. Of course this was a perfect strategy with a perfect outcome but we don’t live in a perfect world and it doesn’t always work so smoothly. That said- it illustrates our intent very clearly.

If you want to find out more about our values and the kind of things we try to get the children thinking about, please look on the school website.

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