Over the past two years, we have worked hard as a school to encourage the children to be successful –both personally and academically. We recognise that in order for children to reach their potential, they must have the personal characteristics to allow them to do so. These characteristics are commonly known within our school as ‘The Secrets of Success’, namely: Work Hard, Concentrate, Try New Things, Improve, Understand Other, Imagine, Don’t Give Up, Push Yourself. We truly believe that if a child embodies these characteristics, then they will be successful in whatever they choose to do in the future. We also believe that these characteristics are essential in order to prepare our children for the next milestone on their learning journey: for Reception, that is Key Stage 1, for Key Stage 1 that is Key Stage 2 and for Y6 we want them to be ‘Secondary Ready’.
In order to encourage the children to develop these characteristics, we have:
- Led assemblies exploring and promoting the characteristics.
- Introduced a new reward and sanction system called ‘Class Dojo’ which allows us to praise children when they demonstrate ‘The Secrets of Success’.
- Introduced new weekly, half termly and end of year certificates, given out during our Celebrations Assembly, in order to recognise and reward those children how have demonstrated the characteristics of a successful learner.
- Improved our end of year reports so that they reflect on how each child has progressed in their personal development during the course of the year.
- Created a Governor’s Committee focused on Behaviour and Welfare. Part of their role is to review quantifiable data produced by ‘Class Dojo’ in order to assess the children’s progress in their personal development.
- Tailored teaching and learning so that it encourages children to be successful in every lesson and to be reflective about how they can improve.
The impact of introducing ‘The Secrets of Success’ has been phenomenal; the characteristics are deeply engrained in our school, so much so that the children are able to recognise how they have been successful and how they need to improve.
Whilst we are proud of the improvements our children have made in their personal development, we have also observed (particularly in PE) that some children are not able to be fully successful since they lack a competitive edge.
Competitiveness is natural part of living in a modern world; throughout history all living things have had to compete in order to survive. During the course of our lives, we have to compete in tests, compete for jobs, in sport etc. Competition does not always mean trying to be better than everyone else: being too competitive can be highly detrimental to a child’s development and can hold them back in their learning as well as prevent them from developing positive relationships with others. Rather, we want our children to have a healthy sense of competition so that they can be the best that they can be. In this sense, competitiveness means:
- Being motivated to do well and putting in the hard work in order to succeed.
- Being proud of your achievements when you know you have put in the effort.
- Not being complacent –always striving to improve no matter how good you are at something.
- Being a good sport – reflecting positively on our failures and celebrating in other people’s successes.
- Striving to do everything to the best of our ability.
As a result, we will be launching our new ‘Secret of Success’ this month.
“After each game I want to be able to say: I gave it all I could, I gave it my best.” Anon
It will be promoted in assemblies and in lessons across the school, and will feature on our future termly Dojo reports.