Character Education at RFA
Character Education at RFA
What kind of school are we:
At RFA, ‘The Whole Child is the Whole Point’. The development of character is the golden thread which winds through every aspect of our school from Reception to Year 6. That thread extends to children who represent our school at outside events and sporting activities, and of the children who take our values with them into secondary school and the world beyond. We recognise that the taught and intrinsic curriculum are interconnected and do not exist in isolation. Through our ethos and values, we aim to promote good behaviour and positive character traits.
At the heart of our school are the Character Values of Resilience, Cooperation, Communication, Morality, Adaptability, Enquiry and Respect. They are deeply embedded within our school and form the basis of merits and Special Mention awards in assemblies which celebrate pupils who have demonstrated the Values. When combined with our school rules: Safe, Kind and Responsible, our ambitious, inclusive curriculum and our co-curricular provision, the pupils of RFA have the best chance to be a successful adult - equipping them with the life-skills to become a happy and productive member of society. We are a school for human flourishing.
The school aims to meet the six benchmarks for the good provision of character education.
What are our expectations of behaviour towards each other:
At RFA we promote consideration, respect, good manners and courtesy.
- We have a clear reward system which includes merits and house points. Merits are character-based and are celebrated at the end of the week in our Special Mention Assembly, to which families are invited to share in the celebration.
- All adults in the school encourage children to show respect and good manners. Our teachers, support staff and lunchtime supervisors model the behaviour we expect. Holding doors, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, respecting all adults and showing good manners are rewarded with merits and praise.
- Our staff treat each other with respect and kindness.
- Class assemblies are used to discuss elements of our Character Values and remind the children of our high expectations of behaviour.
- Our tiered behaviour pathway allows a child the opportunity to receive a system of support and clear, structured guidance for pupils and parents.
- If needed, Personalised behaviour plans are created (alongside parents/carers) which correspond with our Character Values and three school rules.
- We have a system of Restorative Reflection, whereby pupils speak with the adult or child (always alongside an adult) about how their actions affected their and others’ learning and discuss ways in which their behaviour should be amended in the future.
- All children receive weekly lessons in emotional regulation with our ‘Zones of Regulation’ programme.
- We have regular CPD on our behaviour policy updates and provision. Our wraparound care staff follow our behaviour policy and have regular contact with teachers and SLT about behaviour concerns.
- Behaviour as a topic is discussed in every weekly Year Group meeting with the onus on providing solutions through quality-first teaching.
- Adaptive Teaching is at the forefront of our school’s behaviour expectations. Teachers are supported by Year Leaders and SLT to make sure provision is in place for individuals so certain behaviours are not allowed to arise.
How do our curriculum and teaching develop resilience and confidence:
At RFA we hold fast to the belief that our pupil’s well-being, confidence and happiness will provide the right foundation for academic rigour. Our aim is to provide a complete education – one that nourishes the mind, body and spirit.
We pride ourselves on our ambitious, inclusive curriculum – the elements of which are clearly stated on our website, promoted to parents and our school community via open days, events and social media. Our At RFA we promote four types of capital:
- Professional Capital: We have a responsibility to bring out the best in our pupils. Our curriculum has been designed so that pupils develop a love of learning and are provided with the knowledge and skills to enable them to achieve their best.
- Cultural Capital: We give pupils a range of experiences beyond the academic curriculum offering them opportunities to see the world differently. We are strongly committed to the arts and believe it is every child’s right to take part in creative and cultural experiences.
- Aspirational Capital: We teach pupils a Growth Mindset approach towards learning and build their personal determination to be the best they can be through a Character Values education.
- Pastoral Capital: We ensure that pupil well-being is at the heart of all we do. We offer a range of therapies including Lego and art therapy. We have counsellors, ‘soft-landing’ in the mornings, a sensory room and continual SEND training for staff.
Our teachers have had extensive CPD on Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, and Adaptive Teaching, which forms the basis of our approach to Quality First education. The implementation of these has been evident from observations and class drop-ins.
Pupil success is widely recognised and celebrated (with Wow Work and Special Mention assemblies, social media announcements, our newsletter and our comprehensive website). That success is shared with our parents/carers and the school community in a number of ways: our website, social media, parent communication tools, open days, Learning Celebrations and whole-schools events throughout the year. They all create a sense of pride, belonging and identity in our school.
How good is our co-curricular provision:
At RFA, we are immensely proud of our co-curricular provision which is at the heart of building character in our children. Our school year is packed with opportunities for our pupils to shine – to discover something new, to build confidence, to open-up new skills, try new experiences and open up new possibilities.
- Our ‘11B411’ programme provides exceptional opportunities for every pupil that they might not ordinarily experience. Pupils participate in many adventures, ranging from horse-riding, to performing in a theatre.
- A number of whole-school themed weeks: Careers Week, Shakespeare Week, Science Week, Black History Matters (a thread running throughout the entire year) and Enterprise Week
- Wraparound care (breakfast and after-school club)
- A busy sporting calendar – we have multiple school teams, matches, tournaments and a two-day Sports Festival at local athletics arena
- Residential trips
- A professional Year 6 production in a local theatre
This year our trips and visits have been reimagined to give children a wider range of cultural experiences and guide them to connect to their local community.
In addition to 11B411, each Year Group has made a number of ‘pledges’ to provide pupils with additional experiences as part of our commitment to character education here at RFA.
Learning celebrations have been introduced for every year group (1 per term). Parents and carers are invited into the classrooms, to spend time with the pupils, share their home learning and discover more about what they’ve been learning that term.
- Introduce class assemblies, which promote and develop confidence through public speaking and performance.
How well do we promote the value of volunteering:
One of our 11B411 promises (which every child has to complete) is ’10 Good Deeds’. They will participate in charitable work, or take up a campaign (linked to their learning). For example, in Year 4 the pupils are studying the world’s oceans and may campaign for greater awareness of plastic pollution.
The value of volunteering – of being a responsible citizen and a member of the wider community is promoted through our British Values assemblies, through PSHE projects, such as the ‘We Project’ and through our pledges – many of which include volunteering such as litter picking, visiting care homes to spend time with the elderly and delivering Christmas hampers to those in need.
Every class promotes volunteering with team points and merits. Pupils are encouraged to volunteer for class jobs and a variety of positions, such as School Councillor, Sports Ambassador or Digital Leaders.
Many children volunteer to be playground buddies and to help out with children in EYFS.
We encourage parents and carers to volunteer in school, be that reading with children or accompanying us on school trips. Many parents participate in our popular Careers Week and we have a popular and well-attended Fathers Forum.
How well do we ensure that all our pupils benefit equally from what we offer:
We have high aspirations for all our pupils and believe every child should have the same opportunities to learn and grow as their peers – not just academically, but in all aspects of school-life.
Our ethos promotes equality and inclusion. Through our broad and balanced curriculum, our adaptive teaching, our co-curricular experiences and our relationships, we are determined that every pupil has every opportunity to realise their full potential.
Senior leaders ensure that the curriculum offers opportunities for all children to have an extended curriculum offer. As a result, all children have access to educational visits, visitors, workshops, competitions, sporting events and performances that develop our curriculum values and aims.
That’s why we say, here at RFA, “The Whole Child is the Whole Point”.