While studying to become a teacher, I worked in a boarding school as a school liason officer. My role involved negotiating between the boarding school and the day schools the students attended. The students attended a range of independant and public schools.
In those years I had a very different, perhaps post-modern, constructivist philosophy toward the ways students should learn, and in particular the expectations relating to uniform and discipline. Why should we force students to lose their individuality and freedom of expression? After all what does it matter if a student wants to wear purple hair?
I noticed that there were very different behaviour issues across the different institutions. In some schools, there were issues of abuse toward teachers from students, violence, disobedience and some concerning inter-personal behaviours. However I was quite cynical of one particular school. Unlike the other schools, the issues that would come to my desk were often frivalous and pointless. I remember mocking the school after one student was given a formal warning over wearing the wrong socks on a number of occasions.
After a while, I began to notice a pattern. The one school that seemed to be dealing with all these minor issues rarely presented with significant ones like the other schools. I was intrigued and, while still cynical, I started tracking the issues.
The results started to reshape my personal philosophies. It brought back voice of my Scottish grandmothers quote, “If ya look after ya pennies the pounds will look after themselves!”
I believe that if we are able to teach our children the notions of respect, honour and obedience in small, seemingly insignificant contexts, it will provide great learning that builds on important values for our children as they become adults, that will influence there lives forever.
Proverbs 13:24 says that, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
In context, we see the rod as a metaphor as the ‘rod of discipline’. It is not stating that every bad deed deserves a good beating, rather the message is that because we love our children we want to discipline them, even though it is not easy or rarely pleasant.
However, the pleasant reward is that we growing our next generation:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
So one of the key messages for our children is, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” Proverbs 19:20
I would like to thank all the parents who have voiced their support and partnership in working with our children as we move them to a place where they are wishing to do what is right, because it is the right thing to do, rather than the fear of punitive punishment.
This term we are drawing attention to our uniform policy which includes hair cuts, piercings and nail polish. We recently shared that students not willing to oblige our behaviour and uniform expectations would, eventually, not be able to attend classes. As an interim step starting this week will be that students wil be asked to attend a rethink discussion at lunchtime. During this time we will be challenging students to reflect on the principles behind our willingness to be obedient.
We will also be asking students to be punctual to school and classes and ensure their attendance is consistent in line with state regulations.
If you do have any queries about our uniform policy, please contact the school office, Mr Joel Vallance or Mr Paul Beacham.
We take seriously our partnership with our parents in growing our next generation. We seek to ensure that our students develop a mature approach to understanding the structures that build our society and use their unique gifts to be an active and positive part of it.