Monday, 23 February 2015

Following the Rules

The first assembly after half term was a revisit of rules and responsibilities;

Ok, so we all hate following the rules, don't we? The signs that say 'Please don't walk on the grass' make me want to, just because the sign says I can't!

But following rules is part of being one of a group, whether that's a family, a work place, a country or a school. The 'rules' are a set of guiding principles that a particular group of people agree to follow & they are not always bad!

Especially because a world with no rules at all would not be a good idea. It may sound great when you first think about it, but after a while, it quickly becomes more of a nightmare. The film series The Purge, where, for one day a year, there are no rules, shows what a world would be like without the mutual agreement to follow a set of laws. . .

Think about games for example. When we, as a family, play games, the youngest always wants to play by a slightly different set of rules; maybe that's why she always wins at Ludo … !
Or if we look at sports, all sports have a set of rules, in order for the game to progress with a clear flow and outcome. And yes, I know it's popular for the overpaid so-called stars of football to challenge the rules, but all their posturing and complaining doesn't affect the outcome or sway the referee. (as an aside, this is one of the reasons why I prefer rugby - one of the rules of rugby is that the referee's decision is final and binding, so there's never the toddler-like tantrums when someone falls foul of a rule during the game).

And there are rules we follow just by being part of the country. It's part of being 'British' - the unwritten rule that we will follow the rules, or laws,  and suffer the consequences if we're caught breaking them.

I may not like them all, I may not even agree with some of them, but that is completely irrelevant. As an adult member of society, I have to abide by the laws of the land. If I don't like it, I have the freedom to leave and go to another country. Or I can petition, become active and work to change the rules. Maybe I could even become a politician, go to parliament and work to change the rules. People have done so before; the abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, universal education and health care for all, etc. . .

But in the meantime, I accept the rules and live by them, or suffer the consequences if I don't. I know, for example, that if I am caught speeding on the roads, I will be fined & I know that, no matter how urgent, I must never answer an email or text while driving. It may be an important meeting that I'm running late for, but to speed to get there is not allowed by the rules & there are consequences if I'm caught breaking them. Even if I don't know it's against the rules; not knowing is not an excuse. . . There are people who think it is perfectly fine to break the rules on a regular basis - shoplift something just because they like the look of it & don't have the money to buy it, perhaps, or to drive without insurance because they can't afford the premiums. But these people are, in fact, hurting everyone else - goods in shops cost more because the shop has to make up for the lost income & my insurance for my car costs more to cover the people who cause accidents without insurance.

To decide to not follow the rules is a truly selfish act, thinking entirely of yourself, rather than others & not caring about harming others in the process.

And when you go to work in a company, you enter into a contract. The contract states that, providing you perform certain tasks, then you will get paid. But along with that, every company will have a set of rules that every employer agrees to abide by in order to be paid. In most companies, these rules are more commonly referred to as a 'Code of Conduct', because it's assumed that it's more of a mutual agreement to behave and act in a certain way in support of the company.

There's a lot in the news at the moment about how some politicians are not following their code of conduct and are suffering the consequences.

At Sandymoor, we have a Professional Conduct document that sets out the standards that all employees are expected to work with in order to support everything the school stands for.

And as students, you, too, have a set of standards that you are expected to work with as a Sandymoor student. You signed a home-school agreement when you first joined the school that sets out some of those standards of conduct. These are:

  • Come to school expecting and wanting to learn.
  • Approach each lesson in a positive manner, ready to listen and to be involved.
  • Bring to each lesson all the books and equipment required.
  • Keep books and files in suitable order within school or at home.
  • Be conscientious in the completion of work in school or at home.
  • Want to make progress and to seek help and advice when necessary.
  • Take time in thinking about how they learn best.

You also agree to work with us in your standards of behaviour and dress & these are also written out and have been shared with you and your families. By being a Sandymoor student, you agree to live according to these rules, this code of conduct. And you agree to accept the consequences of not doing so.

I have spent some not inconsiderable time over the half term break preparing a single document that has the Professional Conduct expected from everyone who is part of the Sandymoor Community, both staff and students. This single document is designed to be a one-stop location for all our conduct & it is designed to show the (you, the) students that we are not expecting anything significantly above and beyond what any employer would expect of an employee (& indeed what I expect of every member of staff at Sandymoor).

To view this document, please click here.

And when you are challenged by a member of staff, either about your uniform, your behaviour or the quality of your work, all that is happening is that the member of staff is following their code of conduct in pointing out to you that you are not. . .

Monday, 2 February 2015

Holocaust Memorial Day

Assembly this week focussed on the remembrance of the liberation of the Death Camps, 70 years ago, how it & the war as a whole still impacts us today and then reflected on the lessons we can still learn.

For us as a school, we need to remember that Hitler was a bully who was allowed to get away with what he did because others let him. My assembly contained a number of images and a video, so I am trying it out in a different format: