Kath Pigdon, Deputy Headteacher at William Howard School, on codifying the student culture we want to see in our schools.

We know that in school environments where there are clear expectations of behaviour, with well-planned provision for character and personal development, there will be good mental wellbeing, a readiness to learn and capable and competent young people.

It, therefore, makes sense for us to try to codify – or arrange into a system – the culture we want to exist within our schools.

Through knowing our role and defining the role of the student and parent, we will develop a high performing culture for learning. This will be achieved through defining and developing the character of our students and looking beyond grades.

We started this journey some time ago, with the establishment and development of our 3Rs, Respect, Responsibility and Resilience, and our nine core behaviours.

We want to go further and implement a character curriculum across all schools to develop key character qualities for all.

What benefits would we expect this to bring?

  • Improve student engagement for all and, in turn, outcomes.
  • Identify gaps in the provision of character development opportunities.
  • Foster a positive learning culture across our schools and strengthen the sense of belonging for all.
  • Raise aspirations of students and parents.

So far, we have clearly communicated our priorities and determined the nine key character qualities we want to develop in our students. The next step is to plan a common character curriculum in every school to develop the character of our students, not by chance, but by design.

Alongside this work, we have been lucky to secure a place on the DFE Behaviour Hubs Programme. As a Multi Academy Trust, we continue to be outward facing, learning from the best organisations across the country. Our induction period consisted of regular training sessions from DFE Advisors, a visit to our lead school and creating a Multi Academy Trust Action Plan.

Kath Pigdon