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☰ Stronger Together

Head's Blog

Stronger Together

Posted on October 02 2020

With a wider selection of areas in the North West being placed under local lockdowns, there are even more restrictions for all of us to comprehend and abide by. However, if I am honest, they are not always that clearly communicated. The rule of six, meeting households (indoors or in gardens), restaurant opening hours or even use of public transport, it changes from borough to borough. It takes a lot of research and reading to make sure you are doing the right thing. 

Despite conflicting views and opinions on all of these recent regulations, there is something that we can all agree upon, that we have the consistency of school right now. A place where pupils and staff at Forest Park can come together and do what they love - teaching and learning!

To that end, a sense of belonging in school is vitally important in ensuring that children reach their potential. The degree to which pupils feel respected, accepted and supported by teachers and peers is heavily linked to how they will perform academically and in future life and right now, there has never been a more important time to come together as a community.

At Forest Park, an understanding of building relationships is the foundation on which we build our successes. We carefully plan effective practices to support children in the classroom and school in general, with a pastoral care system that ensures that every child is catered for. At our school, everyone is known and recognised for their achievements and strengths, whatever they may be. 

Our small class sizes help us identify pupil personalities and we carefully cater our learning around the ways in which each child learns best. Pupils are listened to and we have a very strong pupil voice, where every pupil, particularly within our student council, has a say in the life of the school.

Improving feelings of belonging in school can support both pupil engagement and achievement. Our children actively feel involved in the life of the school and therefore they put in more effort and are more motivated to learn and succeed, regardless of their ability. Our school motto ‘I Can and I Will’ is followed by every child, particularly when faced with difficulties or challenges (and we’ve had a fair few of those recently!).

Our dedicated teaching team plays an active part in building these relationships and a sense of belonging. Teachers play an important role in nurturing children's sense of belonging. If a child considers their teacher to be caring and accepting, they’re more likely to adopt the academic and social values of their teacher. This can influence how pupils feel about school work and how much (or how little) they value it’s worth.

At Forest Park, we are always prioritising high-quality teacher-pupil relationships and work tirelessly to engage pupils with their own learning. We create supportive and caring learning environments to cater to every child’s needs and offer emotional support to children, whenever this is needed. Sometimes, this requires us to be sensitive to the needs and emotions of pupils and carefully manage how best to support them with any issues they may have, however small they may be.

All staff show interest in the children at the school and we are always willing to understand their point of view, listening to what they have to say. We are respectful of everyone within the school community and treat everyone fairly fostering positive peer relationships and mutual respect between everyone.

Other significant approaches include giving children a voice, working with community partners to meet children’s needs, pupil participation in extra-curricular activities, and developing a culture of high standards and behaviours across the whole school is helping us continue to foster a strong sense of belonging and that collectively we are all in it together!

Nick Tucker

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