CEO BLOG: Expect more, get more – don’t risk selling your pupils short

For the past few years we have interviewed our Year 6 children at Delamere for positions of responsibility. Interviews whether you are 10 or 40 can be nerve-racking but they are also your chance to shine, and that’s exactly what we find children do.
Time and time again they step up to the challenge of telling us why they are suited to the role of House Captain, e-Safety Officer or one of the other important roles within school.

These are positions of honour for the children and they are left in no doubt about the expectations surrounding the roles. We proudly display an honours board which displays the names of former vice and house captain, instilling a sense of history and legacy.
I’ve written before about how you get from children what you expect, and if you set those expectations high, they’ll almost always deliver. It’s easy in primary education to set your sights low and hold back but by doing this we risk selling them short.
By giving your pupils a visible role and level of responsibility in school life you show confidence in their abilities and ultimately this models positive behaviour.

At Ellesmere Primary School we have 21 Playground Buddies from Year 6 who support the Early Years Children at lunchtime, playing alongside children in the outdoor area, providing care and support. They are proud to wear their green bibs each lunchtime and have made a significant difference to the pupils’ behaviour. They are seen as positive role models by the younger children and competition to become a Playground Buddy is fierce!

St Martin’s pupils have recently been given ‘sports colours’ depending on which team they have played for in a competitive fixture. The girls football team now proudly wear their green badges and are eager to tell parents and visitors how they have achieved this honour. They know that to keep their colours they must keep their place in the team by working hard and showing great sportsmanship. This isn’t a threat looming over them, it’s a positive strategy to teach them that they are representing the school and their team and that they have the power to keep doing so.

The House System we operate across our schools is fundamental in achieving this sense of pride and investment in school life. At Delamere, each House is expected to raise £500 a year for their nominated charity. The children plan events, fund raise and carry out a variety of tasks to achieve this. Since we started this some five years ago the children have raised over £12,000 for a variety of good causes. The children love learning new things, helping a good cause and working on behalf of their House.

So let’s expect more from our primary pupils, you may be surprised by the potential you unlock.