We start with wanting to make sure every child who comes to KSA feels safe and happy here. We know that everyone feels safest and happiest when they know and understand their environment, know and trust the people in it and know and understand the expectations everyone has of each other and how to meet them.
Given that our work as teachers is to develop our pupils' characters, we are responsible for teaching the young people in our care how to work hard, and how to be good people. We do this through the positive and trusting relationships we create in our community and through the constant and consistent expression of high expectations with really clear lines on what's ok, what's not ok, why that is, how to achieve it and how to reflect and fix it when we get it wrong so we can always strive to better.
"Purpose not power"
If we are actually teaching children and young people – from aged 3 right through to 18 - about making the right decisions and choices about how to be behave and how to strive to be better, we have to explain the purpose of the things we ask them to do. We never ask children to do things to show we are in control or in a position of authority: "because I said so;" "because I'm the teacher;" "I'm in charge here" are not phrases you will ever hear in our school.
For example: we don't walk in silence down the corridor because it makes the teacher feel powerful, we do so because other people are learning or working and we don't want to disturb them and because walking in a straight, silent line is the most efficient way of getting from one place to another and so it maximises our use of time.
There are therefore some instructions teachers give which become routinised: the purpose has been discussed and agreed as a team and everyone understands why it's important. At this point, an adult should definitely expect (and accept nothing less than) 100% compliance.
We always take the opportunity to enable pupils to learn from their behaviour choices by reflecting on them.
Morning Meeting and Dismissal are ideal times for whole class reflections on successes and areas for development.
Often, reflective conversations are best when they are one to one and private. These informal conversations can happen during break, lunch, DEAR, break times, or before / after school. Adults use the language of REACH/MAPP/PRIDE values and other classroom rules to reflect with the pupil on the choice they made and what different choice they can make in the future to achieve a better outcome. The overall aim is for the pupil to develop the skill and vocabulary to think through and talk about their behaviour and how they can take responsibility for making better choices as part of the class/school community. A follow up conversation with family over the phone or in person might be appropriate depending on the circumstance.
Praise and rewards
We know that we can support the teaching of making positive choices and building good character through praise and rewards. There are many ad hoc opportunities for this: genuine praise given at any time is always going to be well met. Equally, it's helpful to learn early that sometimes good things happen to good people and so the odd ad hoc reward such as when we get given free tickets to a play or football match is also important.
However, we must never underestimate the power of structured praise and rewards which happen every lesson, every day, every week, every term and every year. This is as true in Sixth Form as it is in Early Years. Throughout the school, we think it is important to have class rewards – celebrating the successes of the team and teaching group accountability – and individual rewards to celebrate personal choices, growth and successes.
Through both individual and whole class rewards we aim to create a light and dark to school culture. We make it normal, expected and visible that the majority of the group do the right thing and they are differentially privileged for doing so. It needs to be abnormal, unexpected and as invisible as possible that pupils do not make good behaviour choices.