What we also see is the way in which the adults are involved, at different points, seeking to make sense of the developing situations, trying to head off problems, but also reacting when things happen. The staff, at all levels, react with substantial humanity, offering support and guidance as well as pointing out the errors in thinking and the means of resolution. The difference between resolution and escalation can be a very fine line.
There will be some who will be viewing these dramas and criticising the apparent lack of some kind of action, the kind which dominated much of my own education, which was before corporal punishment was banned. I can remember staff who exercised these powers in a cavalier manner and will never forget the PE teacher (50 years on) who gave one stroke of the slipper for each item of clothing that was unnamed, including underwear and ties. The fact that my mother had walked out on us a couple of weeks earlier did not provide a mitigating circumstance. Some teachers preferred the twist of the sideburn, while others were expert in chalk or board rubber throwing. They were not the “good old days” and the mantras that it “will hurt me more than you” or “it’s for your own good”, do not do it for me.
Having survived that regime, largely due to transfer to a more humane environment, my personal preference is to see the teacher and headteacher role as walking alongside or slightly ahead of the children for whom I was responsible, with the potential to fall back and pick up stragglers. Everyone makes mistakes in life, some face significant personal tragedy; it is likely that every individual will need support at some stage. No-one is perfect. Inclusive schools create “ safety nets” through which children cannot fall too far or too fast and are then supported to get back on track
To be part of humanity, there is a need to develop an Inclusive society, within the school if it is not entirely possible on a broader scale.
Modelling what humanity is, would seem to be the headline feature of every staff member in any school.
That modelling may be an essential aspect of a child’s development.
Humanity is an aspect of school ethos.
An inclusive school is likely to have many of these attributes:-
- An open, honest and humane approach to the needs of the whole school community.
- Very self-aware, through review, quality assurance and good knowledge of school data.
- Actively seeks maximum success for each and every learner.
- Focuses on the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning.
- Is very well ordered and organised at different levels, with a clearly stated development agenda.
- Has an enthusiastic, supportive staff progressing the learning agenda.
- Motivated pupils.
- Very good relationships, between colleagues, with parents and among the children.
- Parents, Governors and outside agencies able to provide broader support, but also appropriate challenge.