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School Ethos and Policies Essay

The phrase above is the school’s ethos and was inspired following collaboration with the children, staff and governors of the school; with all believing and accepting they have an equal part to play in ensuring all children have a right to quality first teaching. It is felt that the ethos reflects the vision of the school community and yet it is easy to be remembered and understood by all. It is used regularly to praise the children of their positive actions and if necessary remind them of what is expected of them. The schools aim is ‘To develop a shared love of learning between our children, staff and parents and the wider community.

The school’s ethos is displayed outside the school building so even visitors and the wider community know what are aims are. The ethos appears on letters that are sent home, on the school website, in every class and in the hall. The children eat in the hall, with different members of staff also eating there in order to maintain sensible behaviour but also to enjoy the more informal time to chat together. We have assemblies in the hall, often inviting members of the wider community to hold assemblies; there have been cookery demonstrations, the police have been in to talk about internet safety and local religious practitioners give assemblies. The aims and ethos are reinforced in assembly as children share work, achievements and stories; learning from one another and from a variety of adults.

The School’s rules support the ethos and aims; and are displayed in prominent places in the classroom and corridors so they are visible to all. (image

1)* We use kind hands and words
* We are safe and sensible at work and play
* We listen and work and learn together
* We look after our school.

Image 1 Image 2

The staff have an important responsibility in modelling standards of behaviour both with the children and with each other as colleagues as it is their example that has such an influence on the children. An optimistic and positive environment should be emphasised by all adults in the school to encourage children through example to have relationships based on fairness, kindness and understanding of the needs of the other children within the school. The staff attend regular meetings to share good practice, monitor the children’s learning and work cooperatively; they also attend INSET days to learn together.

The children communicate the ethos and aims to visitors through their exemplary behaviour and joy at sharing their learning with each other, visitors and their families. We have class sharing assemblies for parents and families to see examples of current learning and for the children to talk about what they are doing in class. Families are always welcome to leave messages in the message books and they are also welcome to come in to school as parent helpers, help on school outings or to come in and share their skills e.g. RSPCA officer, fireman, grandparent to talk about being an evacuee.

The school has a behaviour ‘traffic light’ system (image 2) which was instigated following discussions with the school council about having a visible system that is a constant reminder to children. Forgiveness is an important element and the fact that it is not the child who needs to change but the behaviour; therefore all children start afresh each day on the green lily pad regardless of anything that occurred on the previous day.

Children move their name on to the amber lily pad if they break a school rule and have already been reminded beforehand. They then put a mark next to their name in one of the three circles on their lily pad. A ‘think sheet’ will then be completed by the child in their own time to reflect on the rule they have broken. This also enables the staff to keep a record of behaviours in school and to gain an overall understanding of certain behaviours over time. If that behaviour continues then another mark is made next to the name and the child is sent to the key stage leader and if is still continues the child is sent to see the head teacher to discuss their behaviour. All staff follows the same procedures and all keep a record of children who move in to amber and red.

Children are motivated by positive praise. When the whole class remain on green they are awarded a ‘letter’. Foundation and KS1’s letter spell out ‘Super class’ and KS2’s ‘Super class award’. Once a class has received all their letters they are able to choose a class treat. The treat could be a disco, playing board games or talent shows to name a few! Those that get on to the gold lily pad are rewarded with a gold stamp and the child is rewarded with a ‘great to be gold’ sticker. A child who receives ten gold stamps has a lovely letter sent home.

The school communicates its ethos and values to the staff through a number of different policies. The behaviour policy clearly states the guidelines which are to be followed so that each individual child is treated equally. The midday Managers also has a policy which enforces the school rules. Both positive and negative lunchtime behaviour is sanctioned in the same way by the lunchtime assistants so to provide continuity throughout the day. The school also communicates its ethos and values to the staff through the school rules which are displayed clearly throughout the school.

I asked a number of parents if they knew what the school ethos and values were. Although they were not able to recite it word for word all knew the synopsis of it. All were also able to tell me that they were aware of it being in all the classrooms, at different points in the school, outside the school and on letters home. Someone also said with the words aside they feel the ethos and values are demonstrated in the way in which the children behave and in the atmosphere as a whole in school.

Schools need to ensure that policies are in place and revised on a regular basis. Each policy should show both the date it was updated and also the review date. Model policies are available on the internet through local education authorities and these can assist the school when either drawing them up or when updating them. Both policies and procedures are updated regularly and monitored by senior management team, all staff and governors. The Local Authority and SIP also evaluate school policy regularly. The school also takes the views of parents seriously and will adapt should the need arise.

In my opinion it would be interesting to provide feedback to behaviour policies by reviewing the behaviour management folders of each class on a monthly basis. My aim would be to collect the folders and look at the behaviours that are or have been an issue that month. It would obviously differ for each year group as each teacher will have a different behaviour focus and what is regarded as poor behaviour in reception would be totally different in Year 6. However, there may be certain issues repeating themselves across the school such as, forgetting PE kit, being unkind on the playground (anti bullying), not concentrating in class, not bringing reading diary into school.

Once I had collated the information I would then analyse it and feedback to the head teacher so that an assembly could focus on the prominent issues so to emphasise the importance of bringing in a PE kit etc. A note could go on the website and also in the newsletter to communicate with parents.

Also I would review the rewards achieved and investigate whether these impacted the child’s behaviour in a positive way.

The review of the behaviour management folders could also be cross referenced against children who have an abnormal number of absences and also those who arrive late on a regular basis. By monitoring this cohort of children it would highlight if or where intervention may be needed.

As a parent governor of the school I am regularly involved in the reviews of policies. I have a responsibility to review and give input to all policies that are being updated.


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