Benhurst Primary weaves the language of their seven core values into everything they do, from lessons to social activities to parent communication. Watch how they reward student and staff displays of core values at weekly school assemblies.
Every Friday, Students Know It’s Assembly Day
The staff gathers all 420 students in their auditorium to celebrate and recognize student and staff displays of their touted seven core values: courage, wisdom, compassion, justice, respect, belief, compassion, and responsibility.
Benhurst’s core values have permeated every single aspect of its school experience and are at the heart of the connections that are made every day, from learning moments in the classroom to character-building moments on the playground to family-defining moments at home.
“It's a language that permeates through the community itself,” assistant headteacher Kate Garratty said. “Parents use it, pupils use it, staff use it...we want children to show these values not just in our school, but outside when they are representing our school, and also just when they're being themselves in their everyday family life, too.”
While core values show up in everyday lessons and interactions, it’s the Friday assemblies that are used as a special time to highlight extraordinary displays. “Sunshine Badges” are the special awards given on Fridays at the assemblies, and recipients are chosen by both staff and students.
In fact, it was a classroom of students a few years ago who had the idea for the teacher-student role reversal at the assemblies. Teacher Stella McCarthy was surprised at a Friday assembly by a group of students for her display of core values.
“I think I actually had tears in my eyes,” she said.” “It was just, it was really emotional, really nice to know how much they appreciated me.”
Teachers and staff at Benhurst are intentional about connecting academic learning to their character-based core values.
Take math, for example. At the surface level, a math lesson might seem to be focused only on hitting learning targets. But, as Life Education Trust CEO Julian Dutnall points out, there’s much more going on beneath the surface.
“We're not just teaching subjects like Pythagoras. What we're also doing is teaching values like resilience. Many people struggle the first time they attempt a new area of math, so what we’re teaching them is that failure doesn't need to be seen as the end result. We might call failing their ‘first attempt at learning,’ for example.”
One of the reasons I got into teaching is because I want to make a difference. I don't want the children at the end of their time in any of our schools to feel or be the same as they were when they came in.
Julian Dutnall, CEO of Life Education Trust
Students at Benhurst Primary are always on the lookout for displays of value-driven behavior. Their weekly celebration of exemplary students and staff is a ritual that has shaped the culture of the school.
Benhurst Primary School
Certified SMART Exemplary School
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