‘Believe, Achieve, Succeed Together’
At Willowbrook School, our ethos and vision is for children and our school community, to ‘Believe, Achieve and Succeed Together’.
In order to put this into practice we have four core values, chosen with the children that run throughout the school. These are: Respect, Teamwork, Excellence and Friendship. These values underpin the curriculum at Willowbrook School.
“School is much better now we have our values. Children try harder and try to earn tokens"
Albert & Julia in Year 4.
In our school we have four Family Groups: Oak, Maple, Cherry and Chestnut. Once every half term, the family groups meet across the school and learn how we can demonstrate our values. The children are organised by families, giving them a sense of belonging to a smaller community within school.
The family mornings are led by our Family Captains. The Family Captains are eight children from Year Six, who are voted for by the children in their family group. Voting takes place every September, and the children who are willing to become a Family Captain explain why they feel they would make a good Family Captain. The children vote for those children they feel best demonstrate our school values. They plan the activities with Miss Stanbury prior to the mornings and lead the sessions themselves, in front of their whole family group. This ranges from Reception children, to their peers in Year Six. This is not something many teachers would feel comfortable doing!
As well as leading family mornings, they read with children in Reception, Year One and Two and are positive role models; help out with intra school competitions and also receive leadership training through our sports partnership with St Luke’s Sports and Science College.
Our Value Jars
At Willowbrook School, children and staff are rewarded for demonstrating our school values. If we demonstrate a value over a long period of time, or demonstrate a value in an outstanding way, we receive a Token. Outside Miss Yelland and Mrs Ellor’s office are our Token Jars. We have one for each value.
The tokens are different colours to reflect the Family Groups. Blue Oak, Yellow Maple, Red Cherry and Green Chestnut. The White tokens are given to members of staff by the children. In weekly assemblies the children put their token in the jar and explain to the rest of the children why they were awarded a token.
In our most recent family morning we learnt about how we can show Respect. The Family Captains chose to focus on five ways in which we can show Respect.
- Accepting others opinions
- Respecting the environment
- Playing fairly
- Respecting ourselves
- Following rules
“Respect is my favourite value because I think I am good at it!” - Ajwad 1P.
“Everything would be messy if we didn’t have respect, all the equipment would break. The teachers would shout all the time and that doesn’t happen here.” - Ben 4W
“If you didn’t show respect, you would be feel silly and then you would be sad inside.” - Julia 4W
In our Friendship family morning we learnt how important it is to have friends, for children and adults. The Family Captains explained everyone is happier when they have friends.
They thought of ways how to show Friendship.
- Happy to work with new friends.
- If you see someone on the friendship bench, ask them if they want to play.
- Older children helping and playing with younger children.
- Knowing people's names and using them.
- Helping friends make good choices.
- Giving compliments – saying nice things.
- Encouraging friends by giving support.
- Understanding and spotting people’s emotions.
“If you’re not friendly, no-one will want to be your friend, and then you’ll be lonely.” - Cole 5B
“Friendship is a good value you can show all the time. I can show it to children in our school who don’t speak English very well and are from different countries.” - Alexi 2WW
In our Teamwork family morning, the children thought of all the different teams that they belonged to. Chestnut seem to have the most tokens in the jar and have won lots of intra school competitions so the other Family Captains decided to challenge their family group to win Sports Day!
They thought of some ways to earn Teamwork tokens.
- Work together
- Communicating to people in your team
- Allow everyone to have a turn
- Allow everyone to feel equal
- Everyone in the team have to want to achieve the same goal.
- Playing to people’s strengths.
“Teamwork is my favourite value because when someone says no to me it hurts my feelings.” - Ben 1P
“Teamwork links nicely to friendship, if you can’t show teamwork you might not have many friends” - Faisal 4W
This value is not about being the best, it’s about giving your best. This is the key message to the children when talking about the value excellence. To show Excellence children and staff need to:
- Not give up
- Be determind
- Set goals
- Reflect and Change
- Managing feelings
- Using what you know
- Asking questions
These all link to our learning behaviours and in our classrooms we have year group specific displays on how to help children become better learners.
“Excellence is all about working hard” - Bruno Y2
“No one would do their best without excellence” - Albert Y4
“Being resilient shows excellence” - Dee Y5
All the children were asked which value was their favourite. Year 5’s response was:
“All are just as important as each other. I don’t have one.”