Ethos, Values and Behaviour
Ethos and Well-Being
The Brier School is a happy school where we are committed to putting the children at the heart of everything we do. Our children thrive in this positive and inclusive environment as feedback from OFSTED states:
"Opportunities for pupils to share their education with their peers from mainstream schools are outstanding, resulting in a very high proportion of pupils working in a range of settings."
"Their [the pupils] enjoyment in learning is outstanding and is a major strength of the school."
"They show outstanding levels of enthusiasm for learning and say "we have fun at school."
"There is a great sense of community in the school. The staff and pupils work together as a team to create a very positive environment in which to learn and develop. There is a sense of unity which points strongly towards a school that nurtures its pupils and provides ample opportunity for them to develop as individuals within a community. In these many ways the school is very successful in promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the school. As a result, the pupils live and learn in an environment which is safe and secure and which is free from oppressive behaviour."
We are committed to promoting resilience, independence and strong well-being and mental health for pupils and staff. We employ a school counsellor and pupils also enjoy sessions of yoga, relaxation, rebound therapy, and mindfulness. Three staff are trained in Mental Health first aid, and many more in nurture skills, attachment difficulties, combatting stress and bereavement and counselling skills. We are working towards achieving the Well-Being Award and will be assessed in December 2019.
At The Brier School British values are actively promoted.
Promoting British Values is not a question of photographs of 10 Downing Street or the British Prime Minister portrayed in corridors, but promoting values which we should all hold dear. Great Britain is home to the world's oldest democracy; it is also a multicultural country of many faiths and beliefs. This is a crucial point in our nation's history and it is understandable therefore, that schools should have an obligation to reinforce our values. Fair play, respect for others, protection of vulnerable and less fortunate and free speech must be an inherent part of any school or public body.
The school council meets regularly where pupils, elected by their peers, have an opportunity to discuss issues important to them and to offer suggestions to improve the school.
The school has three golden rules: the children were invited to think of three basic rules that everyone can understand from which rules on behaviour, conduct and personal progress could be expanded upon. The golden rules are; Be kind (no hurting); Share, (no snatching); Join in, (take turns). The older pupils were allowed to expand upon these rules but had to keep these three as a basis.
The pupils also celebrated the UN Charter for children's rights. The children devised their own Brier Charter from the examples at the UN and these are displayed in the school alongside each other.
Naturally there are visits from MPs and councillors and there have been visits to Parliament in London. These visits are arranged as part of the pupils’ PSHE and life and living studies. These lessons and visits are not part of tokenism but engender our aim to allow pupils to understand the nature of the country they live in.
Pupils enjoy assemblies where they have the opportunity to offer their opinions on subjects such as steps to stop bullying, making friends, welcoming others and sharing. These assemblies are part of the school’s termly themes which are subsequently displayed around the school on banners. During anti-bullying week the school’s rules are reiterated and displayed in the policy revisited and revised.
Circle time also allows children to speak about what is important to them or what is on their mind.
Fair play is integral to games, not only in sport, where rules are taught and reinforced, but in the playground. Staff observe and help children struggling with play so that they can get the most out of their free time. The numerous lunchtime clubs and after-school clubs also reinforced Fair play practices.
The rights of children to believe and to celebrate their beliefs are an integral part of the school. The school has a curriculum that is majority Christian-based but the country and in particular the region in which we live is a multicultural one and diversity is celebrated. Major festivals are recognised and celebrated. For example, many of our transport escorts and drivers are of the Islamic faith.and celebrations such as Eid are recognised by sending cards and offering good wishes showing mutual respect for each other. Diwali is celebrated each year, Black history month always has a focal point, i.e. Nelson Mandela, Benjamin Zephaniah. These are but a few examples of what we offer in our curriculum.
A special school such as ours champions the rights of the vulnerable. All children at the school are valued for their personal strengths and abilities. Indeed, our school motto ' preparing for life – building on our strengths' is highly visible on our literature and in the school hall so as to remind us all of our core values and aims. Nevertheless, despite the children’s own needs, that does not stop the children and staff from supporting a myriad of charities and causes; Christmas shoebox appeal, Macmillan nurses, dare to wear pink, jeans for genes, Guide dogs, to name but a few.