I have titled this blog RESPECT, partly in response to anti-bullying week 16-20 November, but also because it is my fundamental belief that it is our responsibility to model and to teach this to young people. With the guidance of adults, our students can learn how to treat others kindly and gain RESPECT for themselves throughout their lives.
As Headteacher of a school that has increasingly become the first choice preference for its immediate community, I feel extremely passionate about the students demonstrating their pride in us through the behaviours they display, whether inside or outside of school.
Young people sometimes make the wrong choice. They follow a crowd, take the lead, or simply get absorbed by situations which, in reality, do not enhance or contribute to their learning or development. Often, they need guidance in recognising where they went wrong, seeing nothing unusual in being on the fringes of a situation, as they were not the one who was directly responsible for what happened. Sometimes they feel hard done by for being challenged for their presence and need careful handling to see things through others’ eyes, needing assistance to view things from a different perspective.
Our offering of advice to develop and earn greater RESPECT in life is, in my view, captured by the three quotes below. Each one may challenge the thinking and responses of individuals, children and adults alike at various points in their lives:
‘Do what is right. Not what is easy.’
In schools, young people find it very difficult to not follow the crowd. The brave ones amongst us will stand tall and protect our own integrity, through making the choice to disassociate ourselves from what we know is not a positive situation.
‘Learn to say no without explaining yourself.’
Justifying our actions to others is a default mechanism to articulate why we wouldn’t want to get involved in any given situation. We could question why there is a need to do this when we are in control of our own destiny and we decide what choice to make. We should never feel the need to have to explain why; a simple ‘no’ should be sufficient for those that RESPECT us.
‘Maturity doesn’t mean age. It means sensitivity, manners and how you react.’
This is my favourite of the three, as it shows a real sense of empathy for others. Showing maturity of thought and RESPECT for the situation that others may find themselves in, is important to me as the Headteacher of Denefield School. It is easy to follow others but much harder to walk away.
It is my expectation that all Denefield students learn to show RESPECT for themselves and for others, through making conscious choices to put their community first.
Having focussed for much of this blog on RESPECT and its importance, I wanted to express my thanks to all students and staff who recently purchased an anti-bullying t-shirt in support of the house charities. The sea of colours around the school has been a magnificent spectacle and made a clear statement about our collective approach to prevent bullying. T-shirts may be worn until the Christmas break.
As is normal practice at Denefield, staff are frequently busy organising events. It was a great privilege to attend the Sports Awards on 11 November to witness so many of our fabulous sportsmen and women receiving the praise for their successes this season. The parental support was evident and I am sure that all who attended would wish to congratulate the students for their achievements and the PE department for hosting such a magnificent evening.
In my previous blog, I also mentioned the Year 11 Future’s Day, organised by Mrs Williams, on 18 November. Many parents/carers volunteered to share career choices and experiences with our Year 11 students who clearly appreciated the time that had been devoted to the preparation of engaging talks and presentations. During the day, Year 11 were also given the opportunity to attend a motivational speech from Steve Cunningham who claims to be the ‘fastest blind man in the UK’ and who is, without a doubt, a true inspiration to all. Just ask Year 11!
May I take this opportunity to remind all parents of carers of the events coming up in the next few weeks.
Dates for your diary:
2 December German Christmas market and carols around the tree from 4.30pm
10 December Presentation Evening for ex Year 11 and 13 students (invitation only)
Miss L A Dawe