Why our Values are so important...
Being a values-based school allows the whole school community to come together as one, with a shared understanding of our high expectations. In the years that we have promoted and 'lived by' our values, we have seen an improved sense of responsibiliy and pride taken by all stakeholders in all areas.
Our eight core values are:
- Respect - being able to act in a way that shows you care about others feelings and well-being. You can have respect for others and you can have respect for yourself.
- Honesty - telling the truth, no matter what consequences you may face.
- Compassion - caring about others and wanting to help in a situation in order to make somebody feel happier.
- Responsibility – looking after yourselves, your property and others. Behaving in a way that supports your learning.
- Resilience – being able to face challenges again and again and never giving up.
- Courage – being brave as you meet new experiences or difficult situations.
- Ambition – having a strong desire for success and aiming high in order to achieve what you want.
- Unity – working together as one.
Reinforcing and Teaching our Values:
Our core values are a fundamental part of school life. They are referred to daily and pupils and staff show a good understanding of how their actions reflect each value and support a cohesive community.
Our core values are taught through:
- Whole school assemblies
- Value house assemblies
- PSHE lessons
- Circle times
- Discussions with adults
Our core values are reinforced and rewarded through:
- Value House assemblies
- House tokens
- Celebration assemblies
- Principal and SLT recognition
- Values displays in each classroom
- Reflection time
Whole school assemblies focus on the teaching of values and the reinforcement of the actions needed to reflect appropriate behaviours that enables our community to become cohesive and focused on the same vision.
- Each house is named after one of our values and is led by named staff members.
- All pupils and staff (including governors) are allocated to a house with a mix of ages across each house.
- Siblings are not in the same houses and staff/governor members with children at the school are also allocated to different houses.
- Each house is allocated a colour to support younger pupils being able to engage with the house system.
How do Values Houses impact on the reinforcement of values?
- Value tokens and pointes are awarded to pupils and staff for demonstrating actions that reflect the upholding of the school’s values. As tokens are awarded, the value that they are awarded for is reinforced e.g. "Well done, you have shown respect to others by speaking to… in a kind and thoughtful manner."
- Value Houses meet collectively together every few weeks. During this time they will count their tokens and points, and reflect on how well they have displayed our values during that time period.
- House assemblies also enable specific values to be focused on and these link to world-wide events where possible.
- Opportunities for pupils and staff to work more collaboratively together across the school.
- At the end of each half term, the whole school will meet together to present the winning house with their rewards for earning the most house tokens. The winning house will be rewarded with:
- a mufti-day.
- £50 donation to their selected local charity.
How do our values raise standards at Windmill Primary School?
- Improve the behaviour of pupils as they have a better understanding of traits that contribute to improved citizenship.
- Improve the sense of community within Windmill Primary School enabling pupils and staff members to work across the school.
- Hold all members of the community to account for their behaviours and attitudes.
- Ensure that there is a shared vision and understanding of what we as a school are striving for.
- Will feed into all policies and practices at Windmill Primary School enabling good links between all aspects of school life.
- All pupils and staff will have intrinsic motivation to be the best that they can be.
A Windmill Tale: ‘Doing Right By The Children’
The first time I ever set foot in Windmill Primary School, I remember being struck by the atmosphere of compassion, of caring for what the children were feeling and for the progress they were making. I saw this lived out, in the person of the head teacher, Matt Coleman. It was simply the way he thanked each pupil for giving him their books to look at, to see how they were getting on. He and they were ‘walking the talk’ – he by teaching and they by learning.
On subsequent visits to the school, I picked up on the sense of unity that is to be found throughout this school. You can just feel that everybody is working together for the same, straightforward aim: ‘to do right by the children’. Everyone who works in this place of learning has the air of knowing what their tasks are and knowing that they all have an important part to play in the school’s success.
There is an ambition at Windmill and it seems, to me, to be the ambition of wanting to improve the life chances of every child in the school. And within this framework of ambition, there is a joy in the work being done and a celebration of it being accomplished. You only have to attend one of the ‘Achievement Assemblies’ to see the whole school come together to acknowledge the efforts of those students who have done really well in aspects of their school life and learning.
Walking around the school, in my role as a governor and an occasional volunteer storyteller, I have been privileged to witness the all-pervading respect that flows between staff and students. The status of everyone is acknowledged and reinforced by the positive way everyone responds to one another.
We do not always live in a happy world. Both on the international stage and at a local level, we encounter bad and difficult times. Life can be uncertain in many ways. Schools, on occasion, can seem like small ships on big stormy seas, offering a real sense of safety and security for their pupils. This daily ‘stepping up to the plate’ and ‘doing the right thing by the children’ takes effort and courage. ‘Courage’, as someone once said, ‘is a love affair with the unknown’. The unknown, in Windmill’s case, is the future and what it holds for all the students, but the staff really embrace this and prepare their pupils for every eventuality and opportunity that they might encounter in their lives to come.
If something hasn’t quite worked out as it was hoped, then the staff at Windmill are always honest enough to say so and then to set out to improve things. I imagine students, if ever they are called to account, are asked how they think they could do things differently in future. Here, a child can learn to pause, to reflect, to make amends and to move forward in a new way. And through a similar lens of honest reflection are the harvests of previous years’ teaching and learning reviewed - and then refreshed and renewed.
In this place, there is a tangible feeling of ownership, of shared responsibility, of a sense of ‘this is our school’. This is voiced by staff and pupils alike. The staff instinctively know they have a responsibility to model this so that the children can see a good example and copy it and, ultimately, embed it into their own lives.
And now we come to the last things, to outcomes, results and achievements. What kind of pupil emerges from the years of experience and learning at Windmill? What kind of people are they becoming? To quote the Chair of Governors, Sarah Triolaire, the students that leave this school are ‘well-made people’. They are fit for purpose, truly ready for all their tomorrows.
This is the school as I see it. This is how I believe it to be. As a storyteller, this is the story I tell of that magical place, the Windmill high upon the hill, that steadily does its hugely important and significant work, day after blessed day…
Rob Marchment (Governor and friend of our school)