04 Nov Head teacher’s Blog 04.11.18
Next week, as our country and other countries around the world build up to the centennial services that are in place to remember 1918’s Armistice Day and the thousands of men and women who have lost their lives in order to seek peace, students at Daubeney Academy will engage in a number of activities that seek to not only further educate about historical events that continue to resonate with us but also pay respect to our nation’s troops, both past and present. During our carefully planned and coordinated am form times, which continue to be such a strength of our school, all of our students will take part in sessions that will build historical and topical knowledge about warfare in society and incite discussions about how conflict can most effectively be resolved. On Wednesday, we will welcome a retired army standard bearer into our school in order to lead an assembly with a selected cohort of students and on the other days our progress leaders will lead similarly themed assemblies with their year groups. On Friday, students who are affiliated with local scouts, guides, cadets or other similar organisations are able to wear their group uniforms to school so that they can join senior leaders in our quad area in order to observe a two-minute period of silence followed by the playing of The Last Post by a visiting bugler. All other students, of course, must be dressed in their complete and correct Daubeney Academy uniforms as they will also be observing a period of silence in their classrooms. Respect is one of our school’s five values (it was actually the most voted for value during our consultation period in 2016!) and it is essential that all members of our community are given opportunities to show that they can behave respectfully and show respect for others, including those who they have never met and who they never will meet. I trust our students and I believe in their strength of character, and I know that they will all act as perfect role models during next week’s important activities.
During our am form time sessions, alongside the historical elements covered, our students will delve deeper into issues surrounding how we resolve conflict in our society and the role that punishments have played over time and how this strategy continues to operate in the modern era. Key questions raised during these sessions will be:
- How does society resolve conflict?
- Should we aim to educate people about how to behave correctly?
- Do punishments work?
Our form tutors will then ask students to consider the history of capital punishment in our country and well-known historical cases such as Gwynne Evans & Peter Allen (the last men to be executed, on August 13 1964), Timothy Evans (who was wrongly convicted and hanged in 1950) and Michael Barret (the last man to be publicly hanged in England, for his part in the Clerkenwell explosion in December 1867) will be discussed with sensitivity and the intent of raising awareness of where we have come from as a society. This will lead onto a discussion about the role of prisons in our modern society, with some startling facts presented to our students, such as how 59% of prisoners reoffend less than 12 months after they are released from prison, 67% of under 18s who go to prison reoffend and how 45% of prisoners were excluded from school when they were younger. Reoffending, our students will learn, costs our country £13 billion per year and to keep someone in prison for a year costs £40,000. Interestingly, our students will also learn how recently released statistics indicate that 85% of victims of crime would prefer a form of restorative justice and that there is a 27% reduction in crime when restorative justice is used, which links very closely with our own behaviour policy at Daubeney Academy, which is built around the idea of restorative approaches to resolving conflict. In our school, we aim to educate about behaviour in the same way that we educate about academic subjects. Simply put, to be restorative means to believe that decisions are best made and conflicts are best resolved by those most directly involved in them, and our restorative approaches focus on the four Rs of respect, responsibility, repair and reintegration. Using restorative approaches allows our teachers and students to address inappropriate behaviour in a way that asks students to think for themselves about their actions and to reflect on how they affect other people. Using restorative approaches does not mean the removal of sanctions, but rather it allows our community to focus upon consequences rather than punishments. A punishment, in my opinion, is something that is imposed on someone, generally with the intention of creating pain or discomfort, for an infraction against some authority. A consequence, on the other hand, can be defined as the result or effect of an action or condition, usually a natural or related result. In disciplinary situations, the ideal consequence puts responsibility on the offender and the significant difference is that with a punishment the student is passive, having neither power nor responsibility. With a consequence, the student can be active, has both power and responsibility, and is put in a position where he/she will be likely to look at his behaviour and reflect on how his behaviour has impacted other people. Without restorative approaches, students will not take on responsibility for their actions and will instead look to blame others for their own actions. At Daubeney, our policy of using restorative approaches allows us to actively engage students and encourages them to take greater responsibility, which in the light of discussions around those who have lost their lives engaging in warfare over the years, is, in my opinion, a hugely important step that we need to take as both local, national and global communities.