We are a school of character! Following a focussed, 18 month school improvement programme, we were delighted to receive our Quality Kitemark in October 2022. Prior to embarking on our journey to become a character accredited school, Gomer Junior School had already begun to consider what our school virtues would be. Due to being part of a multi-academy trust it was important for us that our virtues were consistent, regardless of the phase that we are in within the trust. Therefore, it was vital that representatives from all schools were part of the process. Through many discussions in teams including; Senior leadership, middle leadership, all classroom based staff as well as the children themselves, we identified the values that were integral to the development of our school. Our chosen virtues are based around ‘The GFM Way’. ‘The GFM way’ is being explored in all schools throughout the trust and is in the process of being embedded from school to school. Underpinning ‘The GFM Way’ are our Gosport Futures. The Gosport Futures are a key part of life at Gomer Junior School and are the skills that we need in order to be successful adults. They are displayed in all classrooms and regularly referred to as a way to positively reinforce the development of our character. As a Trust, we want everyone to be greater and aspire further. It is our commitment as a family of schools to ensure that everyone in our school community is cared for unconditionally and valued equally as a unique person. In our learning, in our work, in our relationships and through our community, we are committed to aiming for success in everything we do. Our ethos as a school is that we are all ‘learning today for the challenge of tomorrow’; emphasising that we are committed to preparing our learners for jobs that are yet to exist. The GFM Way and the Gosport Futures enable us to be able to this. Throughout daily life at Gomer Junior School, we allow the children opportunities for character to be explicitly taught, as well as to be recognised within the role models around them. Alongside character lessons, the children also take part in a broad curriculum that encourages them to challenge themselves and be the best version of themselves. All children within the school are invited to apply for the School Council and positions specifically for Year 6. This is an integral part of the development of the school as it allows all children the opportunity to be leaders and make important changes in their community. The application and voting process enables our learners to experience the British Value of democracy.
Character: taught, sought and caught
Character taught – Children have access to a regular taught character curriculum. This curriculum focuses around the progression of building on our school virtues, as well as through following the lives of inspirational characters from all around the world. Real life examples are given to further develop resilience, problem solving skills and leadership. A tiered approach is adopted when teaching character education to support the personal development and wellbeing of all children. In addition to an explicit character curriculum, all subjects throughout the school offer opportunities to develop character. As a priority in our school, all learning is integrated alongside character education to ensure we are developing the children as people as well as learners.
Character sought – Through a broad range of subjects, as well as extra-curricular activities, the children are provided with the opportunity to seek out ways to develop their character. Through the use of self selecting challenges, the children are able to choose to push themselves further and develop their resilience and perseverance.
Character caught – As a community that has an influence on so many children, we have the responsibility to ensure that we are good role models for all learners within our care. The GJS team pride themselves on being positive role models for the children to ‘catch’ displaying good character. Alongside this, the children also learn about inspirational characters through their Diversity and Equality curriculum lessons as another opportunity to ‘catch’ positive character.
Environment – Our school ethos is obvious to visitors – you can feel it, see it and live it
To support this:
- Explicit age appropriate, accessible reference to virtues studied in all classroom
- The GFM Way and our Gosport futures are displayed in all classrooms of our classrooms
- Our school virtues are referred to throughout lessons, assemblies when discussing learning/behaviour
- Behaviour is referenced linked to virtues and Gosport Futures
- We are a Beach School and a Forest School. Our forest school environment is maintained regularly and to a high standard by Site Team and beach visits are organised for each year group once per term.
- Learning walks are completed by SLT and Subject Leaders to ensure that the character initiative is embraced across the school and curriculum
- Pupil Voice roles show a commitment to developing the whole child, not just academically.
- Taught curriculum of Personal development, Emotional Wellbeing and Character education weekly in all classes. A tiered approach to teaching this is used to ensure that there is access for all.
- Children care for their environment, actively seeking opportunities to keep it safe and clean (litter picks, local walks, BikeIt!..)
- British Values are explicitly taught, as well as regularly referenced to, with links made to our school virtues
- Collective worship and assemblies in our daily curriculum to ensure that children are learning about the wider world around them.