Schools value based positive discipline
Our values and expectations:
We are a Church of England value based school, a school that has a high regard for having faith, honesty and integrity and working together for everybody’s good. We have a high value for building emotional resilience, teaching children to do their best, regulate their emotions and be their best.
Our core values of love, respect, faith, honesty & integrity, team work and trust are the heart of our curriculum and reward system.
We believe in teaching accountability and responsibility as an integral part of learning and you will hear your child talk a lot about this. So we wanted to share with you what it really means to hold a child accountable at our school?
When we talk about accountability with our children, we are ensuring that the following two things happen every day:
- First, helping your child to understand what taking full responsibility for his/her actions means and why it is important. We sometimes ‘react’ rather than respond due to the emotions situations provoke. The ‘behaviour’ is a symptom of the emotion. So we will take tome to talk about incidents, situations with your child so they can think about their responsibility for their actions before (if they’ve just got upset or angry) or after behaviour occurs. This is like a coaching method where we use this opportunity to say his actions have made others feel too, so the impact of their actions can be discussed also.
- We then look at resolutions, solutions and strategies to manage situations positively next time. Or we use it to reiterate expectations at school, eg our rules here mean next you must not talk.
Ultimately, we want to promote a system of responsibility and accountability for actions which sets the foundation for our ‘culture of accountability.’
A culture of accountability means the following:
- Each person in the family/team is responsible for their own actions and behaviours;
- Each person is responsible for following the rules and expectations set (either at home , school of club... anywhere they need to play their part);
- And each person is responsible for how they respond to stressful or frustrating situations.
The simple truth is that most children, need to learn this as they develop, as they grow. They don’t take responsibility for their actions immediately , this is a process to learn. Without accountability in place, children blame others for their actions or can sometimes deny them, or refuse to follow rules or argue they find them unfair, and find ways to justify their behaviour. This is normal in the developing process. They can sometimes see things in their way...believing their reaction is just. For example; if a child breaks the rules by calling someone names or being physically aggressive with them, they may be in the habit of blaming the other child for their part in it rather than recognise their part. They may say things like “She wouldn’t get off the computer and I wanted to use it…” Or “He wouldn’t move, so I pushed him…”
By creating a true culture of accountability, we hope that the children will know that no matter who started it or what happened first, everyone is responsible for their own behaviour. Everyone has to follow the rules. If name-calling is against the rules—and it should be—then just because he was using the computer doesn’t mean he can call others foul names. In other words, blaming someone else doesn’t change the rules.
A really important part of this culture is having consequences and sticking to them. We believe that a child should know that if they choose to break the rules, there will be a consequence for that choice. We hope then we are helping them to manage in the ‘real world’, which has rules, laws and expectations to adhere to. Learning to be successful in this world, means developing accountability. An important life skill I’m sure you’ll agree as parents and see why it’s a crucial part of our curriculum.
At the heart of this curriculum is learning what it means to be responsible.
So we at Oakmeadow set rules and expectations for our child, and they are responsible for following those rules and meeting those expectations.
We use effective rewards and consequences to encourage them to make the right choices and be the best they can be. Yet most of all we know as part of this learning to be an adult it includes learning to do things you don’t necessarily want to do and compromising.
In a culture of accountability it is important to be clear about the rules and be clear about what each person can expect to see happen if they choose not to follow those rules. So school expectations are talked about daily through our values and we help them to problem solve around situations in our curriculum work. We ask questions like:
“What can you do to help meet our rules and expectations?”
‘What could have happened to move this forward positively?’
‘What do we know now for next time...’
We remind the children:
“It’s your responsibility to control your temper. Just because another person is bothering you does not mean you can push/hurt them.’
If someone is annoying you, and you’re tempted to call them names, what can you do instead?”
We sometimes might have our children write down a list of the things they can do to help themselves follow the rules when they are tempted to break them.
By helping children come up with ways they will help themselves follow the rules, you can use a strategy called “cueing” – giving a reminder of what is expected. So when we hear a child start to get annoyed, we then might say:
“Remember what we’ve been talking about. You are responsible for following the rules. Why don’t you go check your list of things that you’re going to do when you’re having trouble following the rules?”
“If you choose to call others names, you will lose access to your playtime for 5 minutes/ or until you can be kind.” (Depending on age).
A culture of accountability is where our children will learn to accept responsibility for meeting the expectations not just in school but everywhere.
We understand though that this take practice for all children, to help them understand that they will be held accountable for their actions. As it’s a natural development process for children to think that adults will eventually give in, that they can move around the rules! It’s all part of their growth. So at Oakmeadow we know how important it is to be consistent and be patient. By doing this we believe your children will have the skills they need to take responsibility in their lives now and for their future.
Working as a team with home is an essential part of what we do and so with this in mind, if your child discusses an issue from school at home please do not hesitate to contact us to gain the wider perspective. We are always willing to share our record of how this was dealt with and the conversation that was held.
By working together we can then achieve the best for your child, ensure we have positive effective communication and ensure your child can rely on the message being the same on accountability at both home and school.
If any parent would like to know more or discuss this approach please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Whelan and the leadership team. We would be happy to talk further about why we have this approach and how it enables us to have the excellent school we have.