One of the most important aspects of a great school is one where there are sky high expectations. Having high expectations is talked about a lot in the education world, but in my 27 years of experience I have often heard them talked about but not put into practice. In my last school in the UK, we lived, breathed and preached high expectations. It was our mantra. Expectations of what children can achieve, whatever background they come from and however difficult their lives. Expectations of how well they can and must behave, at all times. Expectations of the effort we expect, the resilience, the independence. Expectations of their attendance at school, every day, no exceptions. Expectations of how they dress (impeccable uniform), expectations of how they interact (with respect and good manners), expectations of how they act on the way home (as great ambassadors for our school). We had a mantra: every day, every child, no excuses.
Equally with staff, our expectations of teachers were sky high. Expectations of excellent teaching, of inspiring lessons, of caring for our children. Expectations of their behaviour, their attendance, how they look, how they speak to children. As a school leader, having sky high expectations of all the children and the staff is of utmost importance to me; I also believe it is what parents want and expect. Over the last 88 school days I have enjoyed meeting lots of the children, and have been impressed by their friendliness, enthusiasm and manners. However, I believe that in some places we are not all having high enough expectations of them - of how they can behave, of how they look, of the effort they put into their work. Of course, some of our students - indeed, many of them - are exemplary! They behave, act and work 100% perfectly, every day. I expect and want this from all of our students. As a staff team we are currently reviewing our behaviour policy and our rewards system. We are clarifying exactly what we expect of our children and young people, and we are agreeing how we can all ensure we have sky high expectations of our children - and equally, of ourselves. We will be including our students in all of this, so they feel they have a voice in how we are going to all work together. We will be ensuring that everyone is kept fully aware of any changes to our systems, so that we are all crystal clear on what we expect and how we will all operate, as one school community, to ensure that BIC becomes a truly outstanding school, with the highest of standards, and a school that is a calm, orderly, happy and safe place for every child every day - no excuses.