Wow! What a week? 5 full days of New Staff Induction and Year 6 Transition Evening.
It has been a whirlwind – a highly-productive and intense week but we have achieved so much already. The Aureus team have bonded, forging strong relationships and starting some brilliant collaborations. The feedback after each session and at the end of the week was overwhelming positive. Staff feel valued and know that their voice has been heard in the co-designing process of our school.
Our vision is shared. Our values are aligned. Our mission is clear.
Together we will nurture the hearts and the minds of the Aureus Community. Together we will grow, learn and flourish as a team.
The values-scoping day was vital in achieving this. It was important to have an external objective voice, Sue Webb, facilitate for us so that it was crowd-sourced and shared, not me imposing my values on my team. I was challenged and have had to compromise on some things, but not on my non-negotiables. She has started us on our VbE journey. We will work towards fulfilling the Values-based Education framework alongside becoming a Rights Respecting School, we will underpin what we do with the rights of the child.
The discussions and reflections on who we are, both as humans and as educators, were fascinating and have helped to establish strong relationships across the team. We started the week as strangers and we ended the week as not just friends, but as a family. The Aureus family. Pen Mendonca listened and captured our shared vision and our emerging ethical vocabulary.
I loved the different metaphors that emerged as we explored our values being our moral compass, our anchor in a storm, our beacon of hope. Each image symbolising the roots we are planting as we grow our school.
We started the week by doing the inner work to reflect on our own values. We consolidated our 16 strongest values to our 8 core values. We self-evaluated how aligned our current school cultures were on a values wheel. This task was enlightening for us all and quite emotional for some. It reinforced why staff are joining the Aureus Team. Why we are bonded in the conviction that there is a different way, that there has to be a different way of achieving our vision without compromising our values.
We scoped all of our values. We also virtually brought in those staff members who were not present. The 12 core values that bond us are drafted for staff consultation in September. We will then consider what each of these values looks like, what behaviours, attitudes, language we associate with each to enable us to live each value, every day.
In my research I have found the idea of us all doing an Integrity Report each year where we reflect on how authentically we are living our values. I am going to draft mine over the summer and share it with the team. Model the reflection, honesty and openness that I seek from our team.
Starting the week with our values framed everything else we discussed and shared. Looking at the whole child entitlement, the leadership of our values-based curriculum and the leadership of our restorative justice behaviour for learning model through the values lens has fundamentally changed our approach to these key areas of our school. Our why remains in tact, but our how and our what have shifted.
Steve Baker from Pivotal Education joined us to further challenge us on how we have been trained, how we have been institutionalised and how we can potentially achieve the school culture and ethos we share a vision for without becoming trapped in a negative, punitive cycle.
Each day we started by experiencing the Mindfulness programme that Julie Hunter (one half of my Deputy Headteacher team) has planned for our students to develop their self-care and resilience toolkit. Steve joined us the day it was Mindful Movement – he participated alongside our teachers, our leaders, our operations team, our site team and our home school link workers as we did yoga together for 30 minutes at the start of our day led by Charlotte James, our PE LP and staff wellbeing lead. We were experiencing what it is like to mindfully prepare before you mentally learn.
Each external guest who joined us this week were extremely complimentary about the Aureus team, they really are the A-Team. Each contributor expressed they were quite jealous at the opportunity we have and wished they could turn back the clock to join us on our journey. These comments made my heart swell with pride.
We have a lot to do. We have a long way to go. Yet, I am confident that I have the right people on the bus and could not think of a better team to be on this adventure with.
Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher
Currently feeling hopeful about:
- The dynamic, determined team I have recruited. I feel privileged and very proud of the strong team ethic we have already forged this week.
Currently reading and thinking about:
- I was doing some research around Core Values and stumbled across James Clear: http://jamesclear.com/core-values
- He shares an annual Integrity Report which is a ritual I am going to steal and share: http://jamesclear.com/integrity
Currently feeling grateful for:
- Thank you to Sue Webb who facilitated our Values Scoping exercises and planted the seeds for our Values-based Education and Values-led Leadership to #growlearnflourish
- Thank you to Pen Mendonca who was our graphic facilitator to capture the process
- Thank you to Steve Baker who facilitated our behaviour for learning day
- Thank you Kate at Deli-licious who fed us all week!