In Monday’s assembly last week we watched a short clip made by primary school children about bullying. In the clip, a young boy felt excluded and ignored by his classmates. During the course of the clip, we saw a young girl stand out from the crowd and befriend him. During assembly, we talked about the fact that the ‘bully’ is often portrayed as big, ugly and male! The children realised that bullying behaviour can take many forms and be carried out by different people, even our friends. We also talked about the fact that it is part of everyday life to fall out with friends but that does not mean you are being ‘bullied.’ Once you start these conversations with children, you realise how complex these ideas and themes are for them and how confusing building relationships can be.
This is the reason we use our assemblies, our PATHS lessons in KS2, our class councils and our circle times to work on personal, social and emotional issues with the children. Being at school is very different to being at home. Children have to build relationships with at least 30 of their peers and a number of adults. They have to do this whilst learning across a wide range of subjects. The skills of turn-taking, compromise and negotiation are vital. As a school, we believe that we must be pro-active about issues such as bullying and racism and give our children numerous opportunities to explore their feelings and behaviours.
At our staff meeting on Monday, I asked staff to complete a personal reflection on their contribution towards our School Development Plan priorities. As I have mentioned before, these priorities are formed following self-evaluation and external checks such as Ofsted. I do feel that we have worked hard to achieve our targets, when it comes to writing, and I am hoping that parents and carers will feel the same when they view the children’s work at progress meetings in April.
On Tuesday, I went to a conference at Haydock Race Course for an update on the progress being made by North West Local Authorities on the new SEN reforms (Special Educational Needs). At the conference, there were representatives from a range of agencies who had been designated as ‘pathfinders’ over the last two years to implement the changes. What was clear by the end of the day is that the reforms are a huge challenge for local authorities and schools and will take time to be fully implemented. In principle, the new approaches should be of great benefit to children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their families. The issue, as ever, is how we can all make the new processes involved work in an effective and efficient way. If you would like to read more about the new reforms click here.
On Thursday we welcomed our new student teacher to school. She will be working in Y1 alongside Miss Dooley. We really value the opportunity to work with our Higher Education partners and to play our part in training future teachers. Training and development is very much part of our ‘offer’ to our staff and working with student teachers is beneficial for them and for us.
The week ended for me in our ‘edible garden’ with our current crop (!) of gardeners from Y3. Mrs Canning, Miss McGrath and I had a great time working with the children, planting our onion bed and planting cabbage seeds in pots. We also spent time doing the weeding which, any gardener knows, is an on-going chore but the children love getting in the beds in the mud and using a big spade. What a great way to wind down after a busy week!