Friday 16 October 2020

Remembering the good things about our schools

My kids go to three different primary and secondary schools, I work at another and a at college too.  Usually my posts about schools are how we are coping getting our kids with additional needs the support they need.  There seems to be plenty to be concerned about, and rightly so - our schools are vital, our kids education important.  Schools have a lot to deal with at the moment.  

I know each of the ones I deal with are working slightly differently  but all with the aim of doing their best for the kids, which also means looking after the health and safety of everyone in school. 

Schools are trying to do a good job and it made me reflect on the good schools do, day in and day out.    Today we showed racism the red card by wearing something red to school - last week it was something yellow for mental health awareness.  OK, it's a lot to keep on top of, but it's the messages that are truly important. Here's what some others have said too. 

A - Acceptance
My son goes to a special needs school and I love the fact that although each child's needs are so different and some children are unable to speak the children all know and greet each other appropriately (ie signing if necessary) the children all are still seen as individuals and not labels of their diagnoses.

C - Community 
I love my daughter’s school. All the children know each other and all the teachers know all the children. It's a little village school, only 115 kids so it's a really nice little community.

Being part of the village community. The school takes part in a large street market each year, they have sales of plants they grow each year and invite the villagers into school to help raise funds. Plus they use the village church and village hall for activities. It's only a tiny school but the village community is very important to them.

H - Health
Promoting healthy lifestyles. Our kids all do a daily mile and it's nice to see them exercising and being outdoors

Vegetarian menus, which is refreshing! They even contact me for my input!

E - Experiences
New experiences - they may only be at primary school (state) but my boys have already been able to learn clarinet, guitar, dance in festivals, try out morris dancing, sing in choirs, learn foreign languages, act in Roahl Dahl plays, write a song about their area and all for free or very little money. And not because of the national curriculum but because of the dedication of the teachers.

At my youngest's school they pick a pupil from each class to attend an Afternoon Tea with the headmistress once a week - they are picked if they've shown to be using their school 'values'. They go to the Headmistress's office where they sit on comfy chairs and have squash (or tea in the case of my daughter) and biscuits while chatting about school, where they went on holiday etc. They then get a little certificate in their bag to tell the parents :)

I - Inclusion
I love the mix of cultures and religions in my children's school. They celebrate different festivities throughout the year with the same enthusiasm and get all the children involved. My children understand a lot more about different cultures than I did at their age. I think this will be really valuable to them throughout their lives.

Inclusion. No matter what happens they turn it into a positive. Everyone is welcomed and celebrated.

Ours is still nursery but they're really good at keeping us parents informed. We have a book which is updated daily with his meals, sleeps, nappies etc and then an online portal where they put photos of him each day and a little description. It's the highlight of my day when I get an email notification saying that a new photo's been added!

V - Variety
Carol Cliffe I love that our school uses some of its budget to cover teachers' planning time with visiting teachers, including great music teachers, French, and lots of different sports.

E - Enjoyable
School spirit, my kids r so proud of their school!

I love that my children walk into the play ground and say hello to all the other children. It really builds a lovely friendly feel and gives the children a great sense of community spirit

What a bizarre coincidence - it (still) makes a lovely little acronym - ACHIEVE.  It's surely what we all want for our kids at school, for them to achieve their potential, be the best they can be, not just in academics but in being their best version of themselves, whatever that may be

Something to remember when we are wondering what we have that's red to wear for the day, the complication of staggered start times or having to turn around because we can't get into the school grounds without a face mask. 

What things would you add?

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