Having drawn down a school previously, I learned quickly that keeping the focus away from closing and rigorously on the present was the key to maintaining our ethos and commitment to learning so that we could ensure a positive future.
At my previous school, we promoted ‘Blankenhagen’s Best Year Ever (BBYE)’; the coincidence of the acronym B’BYE pointed out to me by one of my teachers when she saw it written down. I’d always referred to it B-B-Y-E verbally and never noticed – it was as though the school was talking back to us! Everything we did we wanted it to be better than before.
So, at my present school the notion that we had a positive and focussed driver was agreed. However, in the same way that I can’t bear to hear ‘in my last school…’ I am conscious of not doing it myself. Whilst my philosophies remain consistent the way that these are reflected depend very much on the context, staff and needs of the school that I am in. This can only happen through shared understanding, meaningful conversations and faith in the vision and philosophy. To that end the medium of song was selected and the immortal classic Don’t Stop Believin’ selected to represent our aim for the present and future – albeit with some re-wording!
Why? ‘Why’ has been an important question for me since reading the Simon Sinek book ‘It Starts with Why’ – it made sense, it was convincing and it tied in with my philosophy of leadership (Blog 2 – One brain not good enough?).
The ‘why’ here is about legacy. Legacy within the forces environment runs strong –traditions, sense of adventure, loyalty, friendship and pride – handed down and promoted through context and environment. As a school for forces (service) children we want the children to leave with a legacy from Haig School – Don’t Stop Believing. But in reality it goes beyond service children and rightly so. As a child I was brought up in this in this environment, my parents were teachers, and I believe it is the influence of the service children’s schools that I attended that left me with a similar legacy.
Don’t Stop Believing – the message is simple really. It translates to resilience, independence, respect, inspire and confidence; our core values.
If, throughout the course of the year, we can instil this in our children going forward then that will be the legacy of Haig School. Again, referring to previous blogs, it is not just this year that we put effort into achieving this – and could we really be successful if we hoped to achieve this in just one year? We have always wanted children to leave the school with the values legacy – no different this year. But, this year is special for our children in their current year groups; it is the last year – their only year in that year group. In ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ we count ourselves lucky to be the ones still here and make it really count!
Have you faced similar challenges? How did you inspire to motivate?