School Mission Statement and Aims
Our Mission Statement
“Learning Together, Preparing for Life”
We hope to realise our Vision by striving to achieve the following aims:
- To provide a broad, balanced, relevant curriculum that meets the unique and varied needs of our pupils and enables all children to attain and achieve well in all subject areas in the National Curriculum.
- To enable all children to read well as Reading is at the heart of learning.
- To prepare children for life by developing their character – helping them to become more independent, organised, confident and resilient; to be good communicators, creative and able to solve problems; to be respectful, aware of differences, appreciative and reflective; to know how to keep themselves physically and mentally well and how to stay safe from a variety of risks.
- To recognise, accommodate and support the needs of all individuals.
- To provide a positive, safe and happy learning environment in which everyone is inspired and empowered to achieve the highest standard of which they are capable in all aspects of their life.
- To help everyone to make appropriate choices through praise, encouragement and by leading through example.
- To treat everyone with respect, encourage self-respect, listen to and value everybody’s opinions, contributions and ideas.
- To continually develop effective partnerships with parents and the wider community.
- To ensure that effective leadership and management enables us to continually improve all aspects of our school through systematic, rigorous self-evaluation.
At Finstall First School we teach, and instil in the children, our values, which exceed the British Values that are a statutory requirement of the National Curriculum.
Throughout the curriculum, during Assemblies and through our wide range of extra-curricular activities and educational visits, we also promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our children and we look to develop the character of our pupils.
Throughout the curriculum, during Assembly and through our wide range of extra-curricular activities and educational visits, we teach the fundamental British Values of:
- Rule of Law
- Individual Liberty
- Mutual Respect and Tolerance of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
Pupils learn about democracy through Assemblies, through the History curriculum (e.g. when Year 2 children learn about the Gunpowder Plot) and through the operations of our own School Council. Each class has a representative who attends regular meetings with the Deputy Head. They are responsible for passing on information from the meetings to their class and for bringing up any issues on behalf of their class at the meetings. In order to select the class representative, pupils who wish to be considered are asked to prepare a short presentation explaining what they would do for their class in this role. The class then cast their vote and the pupil with the highest number of votes becomes the Class Representative for that year. Similarly, children in Year 2 that wish to be part of our Eco Committee also apply and the current Year 4 pupils choose the successful applicants for the next year.
Pupils and parents also complete an annual questionnaire in which they get to suggest what they feel the School does well and what we could do better. Visits from local councillors and our MP also help our children gain a well-developed understanding of democracy.
The Rule of Law
Pupils are taught about the need for school rules and are involved in deciding their own class rules on an annual basis. They understand that their purpose is to keep us all safe and to enable high quality learning to take place. They also understand that there are consequences if pupils choose not to follow the school rules, as there are consequences if people choose not to follow national civil and criminal laws. This is consistently reinforced through the rewards and sanctions system within our Whole School Behaviour Policy. As children move through the School, they become more and more aware of this link between school rules and the laws of the country. Visits from people in authority such as the police, fire brigade and local councillors also help our children to understand the need for laws and rules.
It is important that all children at Finstall feel safe and able to make decisions and choices in a supportive environment. Pupils, throughout the school, are given the freedom to make choices from the moment they join in Reception. As a School, we educate children and provide protective boundaries that allow all pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe, stimulating environment and an empowering education. Pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to do this safely (e.g. through our E-Safety lessons, Forest School sessions that help children to understand and manage risk, Sex and Relationships lessons, etc.). All children are supported and understand that making a wrong decision is part of a learning process.
Mutual Respect and tolerance of those with Different Faiths and Beliefs
Our School Vision statement states, “We care, we share, we learn and achieve,” and for us to achieve this vision, children need to be able to respect each other and, in particular, each other’s differences. Pupils are expected to show respect to all people at all times. It is an integral part of our school ethos and is demonstrated through our teaching of the children and the way in which we model these expectations to the children. This is reinforced at all times by staff but pupils also play an increasingly important part in ensuring that incidents involving a lack of respect are reported. Children are fully aware that, if respect is not shown, consequences will be applied through our Whole School Behaviour management system. The consequences that are applied are designed to help an offending child to reflect on their actions and consider alternative and better choices. The themes of respect and tolerance are often discussed in Assemblies and in class (especially in PSHE and Citizenship lessons) so that children gain a deep understanding of their meaning.
Pupils are taught about the faith and beliefs of others through our curriculum (particularly in Religious Education, MFL and PSHE and Citizenship lessons) and through our Assemblies. Where appropriate, an understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected by law in this country is also highlighted. Pupils are taught that people have different faiths or beliefs to themselves and that these should be treated with respect. The importance of tolerance and respect towards others is promoted consistently and is supported through our partnerships with other Schools (e.g. in Birmingham and in Reims, France). Children and their families from various faith backgrounds are also encouraged to share their depth of knowledge at school. Children also learn that they have an important part to play in ensuring that our School environment remains safe and secure for all by questioning and reporting to staff any incidents of prejudiced language or prejudice-based bullying because such behaviour is unacceptable.
We promote the children’s spiritual development by encouraging our pupils to be reflective about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise, as these beliefs will inform their perspective on life. We help our children to develop an interest and a respect for different people’s faiths, feelings and values. We try to provide our children with a sense of enjoyment and fascination in learning about themselves, others and the world around them by giving them plentiful opportunities to use their imagination and creativity in their learning. We also encourage them to reflect on their experiences and help them to understand why this is so important.
We promote the children’s moral development by helping them to recognise the difference between right and wrong and to readily apply this understanding in their own lives. We help our children to recognise rules and boundaries and understand why they are necessary. Our children learn that behaviour and actions have consequences – either positive or negative – and, as a result, they learn to respect the civil and criminal law of England. The behaviour management system of “Zone Boards,” that we employ, encourages children to reflect upon their behaviour and to make improved choices about the way they behave in future. We also provide our children with opportunities to investigate and offer reasoned views about moral and ethical issues in an environment where all views are listened to and appreciated. Children are encouraged to offer their own views and to understand and appreciate the views of others.
We promote the children’s social development by helping them to use a range of social skills in different contexts. Our children are provided with opportunities to work and socialise with other children, including those from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. We have very strong partnerships, which provide opportunities for our children to meet and socialise with children from other local schools at sporting events, gifted and talented workshops and transition days throughout the year. In addition, our children get to talk, write to and work with children from our partnership Schools in Birmingham and in Reims, France (by using webcams).
Our children also participate in a variety of communities and social settings and they learn to cooperate well with others and understand why this is so important. They are also guided to resolve conflicts effectively. The children’s social development is also promoted through their acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values, detailed above, and through the development of the skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate fully and contribute positively to life in Modern Britain.
We promote the children’s cultural development by helping them to understand and appreciate the wide range of cultural influences that have shaped their own heritage and those of others. We help them to understand and appreciate the range of different cultures within school and further afield in order to prepare our children for life in modern Britain. Through the curriculum and through our Assemblies, the children learn about Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its central role in shaping our history and values, and in continuing to develop Britain.
Our children also participate in and respond to artistic, musical, sporting and cultural opportunities. Throughout the curriculum, we develop the children’s interest in exploring, improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity. We explore the extent to which they understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity by encouraging them to question their tolerance and attitudes towards different religious, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the local, national and global communities.
Developing the Character of our Pupils
We very much value the development of certain “characteristics” in our children. We work extremely hard to:
- Raise their self-confidence, self-worth and self-efficacy
- Encourage them to become more independent
- Develop their communication skills
- Improve their ability to work collaboratively
- Help them to become more resilient and to not fear failure
- Help them to become good “thinkers” and “problem-solvers”
- Help them to understand and manage risk
By developing these characteristics in our children, we develop their ability to learn and to thrive, both in the next stage of their education and in the modern, rapidly changing world that we live in today.
The development of such characteristics in our children is achieved by using a range of approaches such as those outlined below:
- A high proportion of learning takes place outside the classroom.
- Providing a wide range of interesting, hands-on, practical activities (indoors and out) that engages children’s enthusiasm and ensures that they are purposefully involved in learning.
- Providing a curriculum that is wide ranging and exciting and generates great interest and high levels of involvement from pupils.
- An excellent variety of clubs and visits that extend pupils’ enjoyment and learning.
- Helping pupils to form very positive relationships with each other and with staff.
- Providing a wide range of sport and exercise within the curriculum and after school.
- Providing opportunities for children to develop their interest and skills in art and music.
- Providing opportunities for children to share their achievements, both inside and outside School, with their peers and their teachers (e.g. Achievement Assemblies / Displays).
- Providing plentiful opportunities for our pupils to take responsibility for their own learning (e.g. through independent project work).
- Providing plentiful opportunities for children to develop their thinking skills and to solve problems, without the fear of making mistakes.
- Helping children to understand that mistakes are part of the process of learning.
- Helping children to understand and manage risk appropriately (e.g. through Forest School).
- Providing a residential visit that develops our children’s personal and organisational skills as well as their ability to cooperate and collaborate with others.