Character Values – Improving the success, behaviour, mental health and wellbeing of our students
The Department for Education (Mental health and behaviour in schools, November 2018) states that ‘Schools have a central role to play in enabling their pupils to be resilient and to support good mental health and wellbeing’. The advice from the DfE is, that in order support mental health and wellbeing they should look to prevent issues by creating a calm environment where mental health problems are less likely. This should be a whole school, consistent approach.
At Broom Leys Primary School we have decided to develop Dr Robson’s ‘Gem Project’ as the basis for our learning curriculum; this curriculum underpins all of the learning that takes place in our school; to build on the work we have undertaken so far on the Growth Mindset since 2015. The ‘Gem Project’ will continue to establish confident, independent learners that are willing to challenge themselves, support each other and enjoy learning, whilst demonstrating the attitudes, attributes and skills needed for life. The ‘Gem Powers’ are a great way to explain learning behaviours to the children and they have their roots in neurological science. There are six learning gems; each one represents a key learning attitude or skill.
Diamond power – this is gained by taking responsibility for solving your own problems, having ownership over your learning and setting yourself goals or next steps. By doing this, you make your brain grow.
Emerald power – to achieve this, you need to be willing to take risks with your learning, knowing that learning new things is not easy and mistakes might happen. Being resilient enough to pick yourself up and try again, demonstrating bouncebackability through perseverance.
Sapphire power – you gain this power by staying focused on your learning and ignoring ‘monster’ distractions. Pushing yourself to achieve your goals without being distracted.
Ruby power – this power is about being reflective. This is gained by listening to and acting upon advice given on how to improve your learning.
Amethyst power – build your self-esteem by sharing your work with others and be gracious when you are praised. Know what you are good at and be proud of your achievements.
Topaz power – this power helps us to work well within class – we know when to take turns, when to work with others or alone and how to ask questions and share learning. You achieve this gem by using the skill of collaboration. Playing an active part within a team and showing respect for the views of others are key factors.
At Broom Leys, children are praised for demonstrating gem powers both in class and around the school through gem tokens. In our weekly special mention assemblies, children are nominated by their teachers and awarded certificates for different gem powers.
Every week, individual gem tokens are totalled and each class awards a certificate to their Gem Power Champion.
In year 6, the children adopt the character values of either Castle Rock High School or Newbridge High School. They are given an individual character values tracker at the start of the summer term which they use to record their success so far. On transition days, they take these trackers with them to show how their skills are developing.
Newbridge High School have chosen to present and embed this approach by promoting a number of key character values that will be woven into the curriculum and pastoral programme. We are working towards the Route to Resilience accreditation in conjunction with Wellbeing Education.
It is about how we can help our students develop their own ‘best version of themselves’ and make the most of opportunities in school and life, now and into the future.
Not relying on others to do things for you. Showing that you can learn to do things for yourself.
The ability to recover from difficulties.
Believing in yourself and your abilities. Not being shy of trying.
Not giving up, even when something is difficult, or you’d rather be doing something else.
Restraining yourself from doing something that may not be appropriate at the time.
Treating each other properly. Admiring someone, and also listening to others and considering their views.
Being generous, thoughtful and friendly.
The ability to understand other people’s feelings, and find the best way to help or comfort them when they need it.
Character forms and takes shape over many years, if not a whole lifetime. It is a product of the opportunities, experiences and decisions that we make. In order to help this process we will create a culture in which students are given the chance to strengthen their character and inform their sense of self. As parents, you have a lot of power over this yourselves. Parental engagement in education is a key predictor of future achievement, as much as, if not more than the quality of teaching. It gives you a real opportunity to focus on the aspects of your child’s personality that you would like to strengthen.
This is a relatively new project for Newbridge this year. Over the coming months these character values will be introduced to the students, integrated into lesson planning and the pastoral curriculum so that there are many opportunities for our students to build the character strengths that will help them be successful and resilient.
Attend one of our Character Values events this year if you would like to know more. Also, watch this space for ideas about how you can support your child to develop their character strengths at home.
Castle Rock High School has successfully delivered the Route to Resilience programme– an evidence-based and practical approach to developing the emotional wellbeing and resilience of children, young people and their families. Castle Rock High School is now proudly a Route to Resilience accredited school.
Staff at Castle Rock believe that ‘Character traits not only open doors to employment and social opportunities, but that they underpin academic success and young people’s happiness and wellbeing as well’. Thus this Route To Resilience programme was whole-heartedly embraced. Castle Rock’s own personalised project within this programme focuses on instilling character traits throughout school life, believing that this is one of the most effective models for a brighter future for all of their students.
The six values the school placed emphasis on were: Perseverance, Empathy, Kindness, Listening, Independence and Respect.
The three schools that make up the Apollo Partnership Trust are committed to work together to ensure that the young people of Coalville have the attitudes and values that will bring them academic and personal success within school and forwards into a successful and fulfilling future life.