I truly believe that ‘relationships’ are the single most important thing that makes the difference between good educational provision and excellent educational provision.
When speaking with staff at the beginning of term about the importance of the pupil and teacher relationships, we discovered that we all have varying opinions about what makes a relationship good. However, we were all equally clear about how vital it was to build these strong, long-lasting, working relationships with all our pupils – no matter how old or young. We already knew that this is the key to maximising results and revealing pupils potential.
The beauty of St Peter’s being a traditional prep school model is to see younger children working with older children (and vice versa) and to see Upper School staff working with Early Years staff (and vice versa). Joy is seeing staff and pupils sharing ideas and learning techniques from one another. Relationships are held in high esteem here.
During recent observation weeks, when teachers and teaching assistants all get to pair up to share best practice, we hear a huge amount of feedback about these ‘strong relationships between pupils and teachers’ inside and outside of the classroom and what a difference it makes to the learning environment.
Our House system offers endless opportunities for all staff to get to know all pupils and build a relationship with those children. The community feel around St Peter’s site does not exist as if by magic, but rather by all of us looking after our relationships the best that we can. Treasuring them.
We celebrate that our staff will constantly go out of their way to build relationships carefully with pupils. When it goes wrong (and it does from time to time) we work harder to build again. Being a day maker, not a day breaker is central to our job.
Rita F Pierson passed away in 2013; she was a true educator. She has left a legacy of her written work about how we should be providing every child with a champion. She talks about how connections are essential if we want to make a difference. As a whole staff team we shared one of her brilliant Ted Talks clips and agreed that we are aiming for this level of championship every single day: