Character Education Statement
Why do we value Character Education?
At Orchard Primary School we acknowledge that the experiences provided for children in their primary years has a major impact on their future wellbeing and success. It is for this reason, we have made a whole school commitment to the teaching and development of character traits, attributes and behaviours which underpin achievement and success; endeavouring to ensure that developing ‘character’ goes hand in hand with high educational aspirations and achievement.
Character through the Curriculum
Through our rich and exciting creative curriculum, we focus on teaching pupils to be their best selves, to take pride in their work, and to be positive members of the school, and greater global communities.
We want to create children who thrive on challenge, love learning, respect each other and have attributes that will ensure that they will be valued members of our society.
We also create a culture where staff are empowered to take risks and be inventive with the curriculum and learning, where mistakes are seen as a valuable part of the learning process, where all staff and governors support each other and the ethos of the school and most importantly where the relationships in the school between all stakeholders provides a secure foundation for skill development.
Inspire - Create - Achieve
At Orchard Primary School, we have the highest aspirations for our children.
Deeply committed to providing the best possible education for all pupils, we place a child’s happiness and excellent standards of teaching, learning and leadership at the heart of all we do.
We believe that time in school should be rewarding and fulfilling. We, therefore, pride ourselves on creating an exciting and inspirational learning environment, through the implementation of a wide-ranging and challenging curriculum that meets the needs of the whole child and enables each individual to develop high self-esteem and experience success in both education and in their personal growth.
Through our caring and inclusive learning environment, we aim to nurture and develop mutual respect, tolerance and teamwork - encouraging pupils to embrace diversity and value one another equally.
We are dedicated to promoting in pupils: resilience, a positive learning attitude and independence. We place a huge emphasis on the importance of kindness, consideration and good manners.
Determined that our pupils leave Orchard, as confident, responsible, life-long learners able to make a positive contribution to society, we strive to create a learning community, rich in opportunity, where everyone is valued, empowered and challenged to achieve their potential and excel in their achievements.
Areas of Responsibility
Pupils throughout the school are offered opportunities to take responsibility, to show initiative and to extend their social and cultural experiences.
These roles include: Classroom Monitors; School Council Representatives; House Captains; Anti-Bullying Ambassadors (ABA); Librarians; Playground Pals/Play Coaches and Hall Monitors.
Values Assemblies teach pupils about the personal qualities valued in society e.g. honesty, consideration, independence and self-respect. Assemblies also enable pupils to explore issues relating directly to rules, behaviour and bullying.
Achievement Celebration Assembly
We hold a weekly Achievement Celebration Assembly where we celebrate children’s classroom achievements. Each week teachers choose pupils to receive certificates for a range of attributes, both personal and academic e.g. ‘Star of the Week’, ‘Writer of the Week’, general ‘Well Done’ certificates, best class attendance etc.
The ‘Values Certificate’ is awarded once a week in an achievement assembly to a child chosen by their class teacher who has demonstrated one of the school’s five values (Positive; Respectful; Independent; (appreciation of ) Diversity; Enthusiastic).
The Always Children
Each class teacher will keep a record of the ‘always children.’ These are children who never need verbal reminders, never lose Golden Time, consistently work hard and are outstanding role models in terms of both behaviour and their learning attitude. At the end of each half-term, any child who is on the list will be given a special award in Assembly.
Hot Chocolate Fridays Have Arrived!
Mrs Shields has launched ‘Hot Chocolate Friday’!
The idea of Hot Chocolate Friday is for a member of staff to nominate a child from their class who has gone ‘over and above’ during the week to share a hot drink and a chat together, with Mrs Shields.
It’s an opportunity to say ‘Well Done’ to members of the school who get on quietly but might not always get the recognition they deserve. What better way to end the working week than with your hands around a mug of warm, comforting chocolate, especially on a cool Autumn day – Mrs Shields is certainly enjoying it!
DFE Character Education Benchmarks
A new set of “benchmarks” for schools to rate their character education against has been published by the Department for Education
As a school, we evaluated our provision in February. To view our evaluation, click on the link below.
Character Education Benchmark Report 2020.pdf
Character Education Highlights 2020-21
Our Rainbow Recovery Curriculum
Our ‘Rainbow Recovery Curriculum’, which was launched in August 2020, and then re-vamped again in March 2021, has been based on the work of Barry Carpenter. It has focused on rebuilding our pupils’ self-esteem, confidence and sense of belonging following various lockdowns. We have been supporting pupils as they re-learn how to learn, progressively ‘re-awakening’ pupils’ prior learning using a range of creative and engaging teaching strategies.
Learning how to Learn
We pumped up our Character Muscles big time in the Autumn Term, focusing on the following:
Enthusiasm: Ready and keen to learn all there is to know, and to contribute and enjoy.
Concentration: The act of focusing your attention. The art of not being distracted.
Curiosity: A strong desire to know or learn something. Asking questions to learn more.
Self-Control: Restraining yourself from doing something that may not be appropriate at the time. Involves self-control.
Creativity: Forming new ideas, images, or concepts.
Co-operation: The ability to work together. May involve compromise or self-sacrifice.
Teamwork/Inclusiveness: Allowing others to join in and not limiting yourself to certain people.
Friendship: Involves trust, generosity, sharing, empathy and more. Shouldn’t be treated lightly or traded away.
Kindness: Being generous, thoughtful, and friendly.
Resilience: The ability to recover from difficulties.
Listening: Listening politely and respecting other people’s ideas.
Character Ed Fridays
We made sure that in the Autumn Term, we really focused on helping pupils to have a happy and positive end to the week through our Friday afternoon Character Education sessions.
Children use play to connect, to process and to make sense of their world so activities undertaken every Friday afternoon were, as much as possible, hands on, sensory, creative and fun, to support pupils in settling back into school and talking about their feelings.
Every Friday afternoon has been used for wellbeing time where children have taken part in mindfulness activities, meditation sessions and creative projects linked to character education qualities such as teamwork, resilience, creativity etc. They have also completed lessons related to PSHE or the Creative Arts in order to give them some ‘space’ to be.
During lockdown, we recognised that some of our children were finding Remote Learning challenging. We introduced Wellbeing Wednesday’s to help them to relax a bit, have fun and enjoy some non-screen time.
Character Education Highlights 2019-20
Happy Lunchtimes – Friendship, Respect & Kindness
We had an awesome day when Steve Harris visited the school to help staff and pupils improve the lunchtime experience. He ‘taught’ us all about the Happy Lunchtime system which we have now introduced in school.
The School Council worked with Steve to help set our goals for lunchtimes, these are:
- For pupils to show respect to staff, equipment and each other
- For pupils to play with kindness and consideration
- For a quieter, pleasant dining hall
Everybody is really enjoying the new system, especially the different activities in the Play Zone. The Pom Pom reward system is also proving to be very popular!
Medical Mavericks – Curiosity & Questioning
To help pupils to discover amazing opportunities in the world of health, medicine and STEM, children in Key Stage 2 took part in a special ‘Mini-Medics’ workshop. Their curiosity was well and truly sparked as they took part in a range of exciting activities, including using an ultrasound machine to see inside their body, recording and printing their own ECG, seeing inside their eye with an ophthalmoscope attached to an iPhone and experiencing keyhole surgery using a keyhole training device used by real surgeons.
Y5 Residential to Whitehall – Determination, Perseverance and Team Work
Year 5 pupils had a wonderful time at Whitehall. Whilst their organisational skills needed a bit of work (who know you could lose so many socks!) the children proved themselves to be fantastic team-mates, friends and outdoor adventurers. Moreover, they were so enthusiastic about giving all of the challenging activities a go.
Diwali Day – Respect for different cultures and faiths
To help them to understand the importance of ‘The Festival of Light’ to people of the Hindu Faith, pupils in EYFS and Class 1 took part in a special Diwali Day. As well as creating beautiful rangoli patterns, mendhi patterns and making barfi, pupils also learnt about the story of Rama and Sita. Mrs Shields also led a special assembly for the whole school.
Remembrance Day – Gratitude & Courage
Pupils took part in a special day of gratitude and remembrance to mark Armistice Day. As well as participating in a variety of art, history and research activities, Mr Cooper also led a special assembly for pupils to learn about acts of courage during times of war.
Kindness & Anti-Bullying Day
We believe that kindness, tolerance and compassion are really important qualities to have as a person. Therefore, as part of National Anti-Bullying Week, pupils took part in a number of special anti-bullying/kindness activities during a special theme day on 12th November. To join in with the National Anti-bullying Alliance campaign, pupils wore their ’Odd Socks’ in order to express themselves and celebrate their individuality.
Our Christmas activities once again had a Character Education focus, with pupils exploring a range of activities designed to help them improve develop teamwork, problem-solving and creativity. Classes 7,8 and 9 sewed sock teddies – that certainly helped to develop the teachers’ resilience and perseverance skills! They also ran an enterprise scheme – great use of initiative! Other activities included making a winch to help Santa get up and down the chimney, Lego sleighs constructed to a strict design brief and party planning!
World Religion Day
We are very big on tolerance, harmony and respect at Orchard and so wanted to celebrate World Religion Day on 17th January in style. Through a variety of activities, pupils were encouraged to acknowledge the similarities that different faiths have, and to explore some of the key beliefs and practices associated with one of the six major religious faiths.
Character Education Highlights 2018-19
Kindness Week & Anti-Bullying Day
As part of our Character Education work, we ran a special ‘Kindness Week’, culminating in a ‘Choose Respect’ Anti-Bullying day on 15th November where pupils explored a number of issues relating to respect friendship and thoughtfulness. They were also treated to a performance of ’Bully’s Paradise’ by the Firehorse Theatre Company.
Y5 Residential to Whitehall
Year 5 pupils had a wonderful time at Whitehall and returned to school absolutely buzzing about the amazing activities they had participated in during their 3-day residential. It really helped them to develop their determination, teamwork skills and ability to communicate.
An Awesome Day of Learning
To remind pupils of the importance we place on developing ‘character’, the school ran a special Character Education Discovery Day.
Working in mixed aged groups, pupils took part in a range of activities to develop their skills and personal attributes across several fantastic learning zones including:
- The Hut of Happiness (Happiness & Positive Attitude)
- The Cabin of Creativity (Creativity, Imagination & Reflection)
- The Den of Determination (Determination, Perseverance & Grit)
- Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law
- Classrooms of Concentration (Listening, Concentration)
The Hut of Happiness in Mrs Godsell’s classroom for example was a chance for pupils to develop a positive attitude, to laugh and have fun! Activities included a props photo booth and an art activity involving The Pig of Happiness! The Cabin of Creativity enabled pupils to create ‘Character Binoculars’ to spot important traits such as teamwork, problem-solving and perseverance. There was glitter, glitter and a bit more glitter! There were several Dens of Determination where pupils tackled a number of challenges problem solving, perseverance and determination. The tower building activity in Mr Cooper’s classroom proved to be particularly challenging! Many classrooms required pupils to concentrate - remembering a pathway across a 10x10 giant grid in the studio was a real brainteaser, as was walking blindfolded across a wooden bench.
The Bricks for Kidz Lego workshop proved to be a massive hit as well! There was lots of teamwork, collaboration and creative thinking in evidence. The moving models that pupils made were fantastic
What was wonderful to hear were pupils using the language of character; explaining to staff for example how they were going to persevere and stay positive!
During the last week of the Autumn Term, our Christmas activities had a Character Education focus, with pupils exploring a range of activities designed to help them improve their problem-solving skills, and to develop teamwork and creativity. Activities included designing and making a K-Nex sleigh, 3d snowflake construction and photo booth calendar pics!
Superhero me day
What a fantastic day we had dressing up as our very own superhero. The children and staff all chose their strongest character muscle as inspiration for their superhero name.
During the day the children moved classes to take part in different exciting activities to work and train different character muscles, from creativity to perseverance, concentration to enthusiasm, teamwork to problem-solving. It was great fun.
We also invited parents in to join the fun during the afternoon and also listen to the reasons why we teach character education through our creative curriculum. Hopefully, this gave them a much better understanding of the theory behind it and the fantastic impact it is having on the children.