Ethos

Principles

The establishment of Christlike behaviour within the school is achieved by developing and maintaining the threefold relationship between God, the adults involved in the life of the school and the children. The parents are part of that relationship group and involving them is a crucial aspect of developing pupils.
As staff are open to and dependent upon God they will find His love working within them both in their relationships other staff and the children. Without good relationships between staff good relationships between pupils can not be expected.
When pupils know that they are loved and valued by God and the teachers they will be freer to learn Godly ways of relating to one another.
Relationships with other pupils are also very important in a child’s experience of school. When a genuinely kind and accepting ethos is generated in a school children will be free to grow socially and develop in their learning. In Mannafields we seek to go beyond the enforcing of a code of behaviour towards encouraging children into spontaneous acts of loving concern for one-another.

A positive ethos is developed as we:

  • pray for pupils
  • explain the challenge of the character of God curriculum
  • set an example as the teachers and adults involved in the school

The Character of God Curriculum continually brings the example of God’s perfect character before children. The assemblies are a focal point for bringing out the implications of these project themes.

Making Disciples

By discipling we mean not so much the process of teaching facts or rules but of imparting personal values and perspectives based on God’s word. Education, and discipline as a part of that, is largely about discipling children.

In discipling one can only impart what is in oneself. The teacher can only share the diligent approach to work and caring reactions to others that they have. For this reason it is important for the teacher to have God’s love for the children. This God will give as teachers pray for the children. Teachers should demonstrate the sort of manners that they expect from the children.

The developing of a strong relationship with the children is vital. Some ways teachers can show God’s love and build strong relationships are:

  • giving the pupils focused attention
  • making eye contact with pupils when conversing with them
  • making appropriate physical contacts, such as a touch on the shoulder to let the pupil know that they now have your attention and it is their turn to speak
  • letting children see that their news and contributions are valued
  • letting the children see that their teacher is working for them and is taking pleasure in their enjoyment of the work, and in their success
  • listening patiently to their difficulties and problems and working to solve them
  • taking care to be just in decisions but also merciful and forgiving
  • spending time with children during outings, school social events and school expeditions

When a good relationship is established with the class the class will work with the teacher to produce good order in the classroom.

Authority

The one word that is most frequently used in connection with Jesus’ teaching is authority (Mt. 7:29, 21:23, Mk. 1:22, Lk. 4:36). There are lessons for us in the meaning of the word, which we must take to heart. Authority includes these elements.

Lawful power

The person possessing authority has been given within a clearly defined area. The exercise of authority in the school is a responsibility vested by the parents in the teachers as those called and appointed by the Lord. That power must be accepted and used (see Luke 19:17).

Privilege

To have authority is a privilege. We should not be reluctant to take on the task, but should be glad of the privilege of exercising rightful authority.

Responsibility

Authority carries an awesome responsibility both to God and towards the people over whom we have authority.

Delegated power

The authority we have must be real. Some people “throw their own weight around and cower people into submission” but this has nothing to do with the authority we are talking about. It is derived from God. This was surely the outstanding element of Jesus’ authority and is especially emphasised in John’s gospel (John 5:19-27).

Humility

Jesus stated that those who exercise authority should not lord it over others (Matt 20v25-28). In exercising authority teachers are not seen as being better than pupils, but as servant leaders. Using authority properly is serving. It is taking the position and gifting that has been given and using it for others to bring order into their lives in a way that sets them free to learn.

Discipline

The Need

Even in the perfectly organised and completely loving school pupils will need correcting

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

We can see that Jesus needed to rebuke and correct his disciples (see Matthew 17:17 and 20:24-28, Mark 9:33-37).

God also corrects and disciplines us:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s disciplines, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord’s disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son… Our fathers disciplined us for a while as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”                   Hebrews 12 verses 5-6, 10-11.

A disciplined classroom is important for learning to be able to take place free from distractions and worry about other children’s behaviour. Children flourish in a well ordered but warm environment. Discipline enables children to develop self-discipline, good ways of responding to authority and to learn obedience not only to man but more importantly to God.

Administering Discipline

In the verses mentioned above (Matthew 17:17 and 20:24-28, Mark 9:33-37) we see how Jesus brings discipline.

  • In love: He rebukes firmly but with absolutely no temper. Discipline is to be administered in patient and loving concern, showing God’s love to His children and directed towards producing the harvest of righteousness and peace promised in the Scriptures.
  • Determination: Jesus didn’t let anything pass. Of prime importance is the determination to see it happen. Here the teacher must know clearly the school discipline policy and their own standards. Clear lines must be set so that as soon as a child crosses them action is taken. Teachers then must mean what they say and not threaten things that they will not carry out. Teachers will at all times expect the best the child is able to give in all areas of his/her development.
  • Anticipation: Generally Jesus would have anticipated problems before they came up. A pep-talk given in advance can often be far more effective than trying to deal with a situation after it arises.
  • Consistency: In this as in all else Jesus demonstrated absolute consistency. Although there was plenty that was unexpected and surprising about his teaching, He is “the same yesterday, today and for ever” (Heb. 13:8), and so he was predictable in terms of consistent love and firmness towards his disciples. They could feel secure in the fact that he was not going to treat them in a capricious or arbitrary fashion depending on fluctuating moods.
  • Visibly Just: Discipline must be seen to be carried out in a just way, with the teacher being willing to listen to genuine grievances of injustice and deal quickly with them if appropriate. The justice of decisions should be explained and the reasons and benefits of sanctions made clear. Also the expected behaviour of children in the given circumstance should be laid out so that they can see how to avoid trouble in future.
  • God’s Wisdom: We must more consciously seek the Lord for wisdom to deal with specific problems.

Resolving Conflicts

When a teacher is administering discipline they are not simply giving a punishment but should be seeking to resolve the problem that led to the situation. This is where real wisdom is required. The aim is to restore relationships, and teach new attitudes.

In resolving conflicts there are five basic steps:

  1. Pupils need to see that what they have done is wrong, and why it is wrong. Often it is good to ask a pupil if they can see that their behaviour is wrong.
  2. The next step is making an apology. Children should be encouraged to apologise or ask forgiveness for things specifically; “Sorry for …” or “Please forgive me for…” and not just a vague mumbled “sorry”. This may need to be said to several people including the teacher. If restitution is needed this should be explained by the teacher.
  3. Often a problem arises when a pupil takes exception to another pupil’s actions and sets about dealing with it in the wrong way. Pupils should be encouraged to give their forgiveness to others.
  4. Pupils then need to see how to avoid future problems. This can be a good time to give wise counsel to pupils. Often it is important to seek an assurance that they are going to seek to change.
  5. When pupils have been corrected, the teacher should end with an appropriate prayer for reconciliation, self-control etc. This can often be the most effective part of the exercise, but it is empowered by properly following through the issues above.

Attitudes of forgiveness, apology, and change can not be forced, they must be genuine. If a pupil is resistant to these things the seriousness of such attitudes should be clearly explained.

Two key issues for children in dealing with problems are politeness and honesty. When a child says “yes it was me, sorry” often the issue is resolved without further action. When correcting a child it is often important to change the focus to the dishonesty, impoliteness, or other wrong reaction that has made matters worse, and help them to see that these two qualities can quickly resolve problems.

Bullying

Bullying can cripple children emotionally and it should always be dealt with as a most serious matter. It is an area that all staff must take responsibility to see it stopped by dealing effectively with perpetrators and in giving loving support to the victims. When this policy is functioning properly it should minimise the problem of bullying by:

  • the teacher showing a firm but kind example to the pupils, and never acting in a bullying way towards the class or individuals
  • the pupils being supervised in the class and the playground
  • the curriculum teaching Godly ways of relating
  • focusing on restoring relationships and resolving conflicts

In addition to these things teachers should be very open to listen to pupils problems. A real bullying problem may come to notice through a small thing like a pupil complaining of a rubber being borrowed without permission. Pupils should not be simply told “Don’t tell tales!”.

The real problem should be looked at and the conflict resolved. To do this for every complaint may be to time consuming in a busy class, but the teacher should be on the lookout for when there are real issues behind the complaint.

Listening in this way may lead to pupils trying to make mischief with their complaints. This is the time to speak to the class about the difference between real problems and “tale telling”, rather than putting a blanket ban on such complaints.

All incidents where there are elements of harassment based on gender, ability, ethnic origin or beliefs, whether religious or otherwise, should be dealt with as serious offences. Dealing with physical aggression should also be seen as a very important matter.

Any occurrence of bullying behaviour that is not immediately resolved should be brought to the headteacher’s attention.

Helpers

During breaks the responsibility for discipline becomes that of the parents in charge but they must refer everything back to the teachers. To be able to do this they should be familiar with the school policy.

When playground supervisors are able to deal with a matter themselves they should none the less report the incident to the class teacher, so that patterns of behaviour can be monitored. This is best done at the end of break when the teacher comes out to collect pupils. If this is impossible then a note can be left on the teacher’s desk.

If a playground supervisor feels unable to deal with a situation he/she should not hesitate to refer it to the teacher.

What happens in the playground is very important to the children and as a result to the whole school. It is vital that problem situations are resolved. This requires the co-operation and determination of the helpers and teachers.

Code of Behaviour

The behaviour of pupils reflects on the school and on themselves and their families, and most importantly upon the name of Jesus. The marks of appropriate behaviour are as follows:

1. Everywhere

Each pupil:
Always remembers the basic courtesies of “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, “sorry”, and avoids bad language.
Is honest and truthful and obeys instructions promptly and cheerfully.
Does not ridicule the efforts of others.
Patiently waits for his/her turn, never pushing others aside.
Observes the rules of cleanliness and hygiene.
Presents him/herself well by being neat and tidy and correctly dressed in school  uniform.

2. Around the school

In addition, each pupil:

Shows respect towards teachers, parents and visitors to the school.
Protects younger children and avoids shouting, bullying, rough behaviour, teasing, fighting or dangerous play.
Remains within the agreed bounds.
Deposits scraps and rubbish in the bins and helps to keep the school and grounds tidy.
Discourages vandalism and the defacing of school property.
Moves quietly around the school
Uses school equipment with care.
Obeys helper on playground duty and asks permission to enter school.

3. In the classroom

Always does his/her best.
Welcomes and befriends new members of class.
Works for the class interests.
Co-operate with classmates, teachers and parents.
Does not interfere with the work of others.
Is polite, does not interrupt and does not ridicule his/her classmates.
Works well without supervision.
Accepts criticism graciously, and criticises self more than others.
Does not borrow without permission, and respects the property of others at all times.
Has books and other materials ready.
Does not keep others waiting.
Reports to class on time.
Helps to keep classrooms neat and tidy.
Shows respect towards others.
Follows instructions promptly and without dispute.

4. Out of School

Is well behaved while travelling, and stays within sight of the person in charge.
Walks quietly in line and sits and talks pleasantly and quietly in vehicles.
Thanks the driver politely when leaving.
Leaves vehicles as they are found – windows, seats, etc., and free of rubbish and belongings.
Takes care when alighting from vehicles.

Sanctions

Teachers will take into account individual differences in children. The following examples of punishments will be applied at the discretion of the teachers to the children whose behaviour is unacceptable at particular times. The punishments will be applied with due regard to particular circumstances which apply. Children need to know their errors and need to know they are being disciplined in love.

When a punishment is given parents should be informed. An initial punishment given may be either:

a written punishment:                  writing an apology (which may be copied several times),
copying out lines,
or other exercise.

or playtime detention.

 

Examples of Unacceptable Behaviour Punishment
First offences of a relatively minor nature Verbal rebuke.
Vandalism, dropping litter Practical help around the school e.g. cleaning of floors/tables, sinks, weeding.
Repeated offences of a minor nature, non-return of homework, disruptive behaviour, cheek or insolence, lateness, lack of equipment for school1st occasion in term: verbal warning 

2nd occasion in term: initial punishment

3rd occasion in term: doubled punishment

4th occasion in term: demerit

5th occasion in term: meeting with parents and pupil to look for strategy forward.

Failure to work with this strategy – suspension.

Swearing, Aggressive behaviour, defiance, or other serious misbehaviour1st occasion in year: initial punishment 

2nd occasion in year: demerit

3rd occasion in year: suspension

Threatened violence, assault, gross defiance of authority. Lack of response to discipline following serious misbehaviour. Suspension from class until a meeting with one or two Board Members, headteacher, parents and child (where appropriate). Exclusion.

Parents carrying out supervision duties may give verbal rebukes and warnings but if these are not heeded and/or any of the unacceptable behaviour mentioned above is displayed then the teacher must be informed right away.