Developing our School Culture and Behaviours
Every school and organisation has aims and many have a list of values; things it cares strongly about. At The Dell, we were a bit worried that there can often be a gap between what you say you believe in (people put a lot of time and energy in to deciding this) and what our school actually looks and feels like for everyone who comes into it each and every day.
Schools, and in fact any group of people, are defined by its culture, the way things happen, the way people interact and the way you feel just by being in them. A lot of ‘culture’ is about how things feel and look like because of the way people act so it’s quite hard to put a ‘culture’ in writing but you can describe it and you can say what you want it to be like...the trick is making sure it actually feels that way all the time and for everyone.
At The Dell, we talk less about aims and values and more about culture and behaviours (the ‘s’ on the end is so important...it’s not as simple as ‘good’ behaviour and ‘bad’ behaviour).
In 2015, the School Council were asked to review over sixty different values. We gave them a list of values along with a brief description for each and asked them to choose what they felt were the eight most important behaviours in our school. They agree that if we all, children and adult, show these behaviours every day in all we do, our school will be a happier place and each of us will be closer to fulfilling our potential and role within the school. So part of it is what it looks and feels like already and part of it is writing it down to make sure it stays that way as well as giving pointers for each of us to check ourselves against.
Through a comprehensive process of teamwork and consultation with every child in the school, staff, parents and governors, the School Council came up with the following behaviours and definitions which shape and define The Dell.
Happiness is when you brighten someone’s day, maybe just by smiling, playing or having fun with them. It also means feeling good about yourself and the way you are. Happiness is infectious and spreads easily. We must understand the power we each have to make other people happy (and sad).
In our school we show love by giving a positive hand if someone needs help, encouraging people to be fair and thinking about others before ourselves. Love means valuing each other and showing others that you care about them.
Respect is a key element of our school. It includes every person being treated in a fair way. We care for every child and adult and for every piece of school equipment. While we try to respect people and things, we also understand that the way we act shapes how people think of us and that our actions can win us greater respect.
We show trust by believing, relying on others and keeping promises. Being trusted is a great honour and privilege. We must make sure that we don’t break that trust because we want to know that when we put our trust and faith in others, they won’t let us down.
In our school we show courage by trying new things, taking part in new activities and opportunities and being ourselves. Being courageous can be scary and daunting but it can also be exciting and empowering. We understand that the right choices are often not the same as the easy choices.
Politeness is when a person is well mannered and respectful to others. We feel a little happier and more smiley when others are polite to us. It shows they care about us. In the same way when we are polite to others we share this positive energy and people think good of us.
Independence is when you have the confidence to stick to your ideas, learn from your mistakes and listen to others. It’s also about being comfortable with doing things your own way but still listening to others. It means believing in yourself and having a true picture of your strengths while always being willing to do things better.
Friendliness means being welcoming and kind to others. It means listening to other people and sharing ideas, time and kindness. Being friendly shows that we are confident in ourselves and shows that we know we have the ability and power to brighten someone else’s day and change how they feel. It’s a strength to be able to be friendly to all people, even those we are not close to.