This week, Ollie Frith spoke to Dave Whitaker, Executive Head at Springwell Special Academy in Barnsley.
Unconditional positive regard for students
This is something which has been borrowed from the counselling and therapeutic areas. It’s a metaphor, an ethos or a set of values – it should be something you see and feel as you walk round the building. It’s all about being authentic, showing that you really do believe in the children.
Dave points out that people pay lip service to their value statements – it isn’t borne out every day in school.
This is a phrase coined by some visiting headteachers and Dave has now adopted it. It led him to understand some deep truths about his school and why it succeeds:
“The adults believe in the children and the children believe they believe in them.”
When the children you work with have already had every punishment imaginable and it’s not worked, why continue punishment? A lot of children just factor whatever punishment they are given into their lives and carry on in exactly the same way. Some children who are punished once will never repeat the misbehaviour – it’s to do with their upbringing and other factors but for the majority of repeat offenders it’s clear that punishment never works.
Do mainstream schools exclude too many children?
Dave believes they do but…
Tweet to @PivotalPaul or email Paul@pivotaleducation.com if you are a Headteacher and he will let you into the TOP SECRET project around positive reinforcement for one or two of your learners who have gone over and above each week.
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