One of the things I found myself talking about during the open evening and open day was that here at Sandymoor we base a lot of what we do on the concept of respect. And that got me thinking: what do *I* mean by that word? How does it shape what we do?
Respect is a positive feeling of esteem for someone, or some actions or ideas held by someone. As in:
I really respect Barack Obama.
I really respect the way the Red Cross work in areas of conflict around the world to help those in need.
In school, we base everything we do on the starting point that we all, as individuals, respect each other. I know that every member of staff has joined Sandymoor because they want to be part of an organisation built on the founders' original ethos and that they want to do the very best they can to support and help you be the best you can be. I know that there is not a single one of you who would want to hurt another and that you want to be the best you can be.
I respect the staff because of this and I respect you all because of this.
I also expect you to respect the teachers and other staff who work in school.
Respect is not just some idea either. It is shown by actions. So, I respect the staff, for example, by doing everything I can to provide the workplace that allows them to do their job to the best of their ability. And I respect you by making sure that I listen to you and hear your opinions and views.
I do have an advantage here, however. Respect for authority is, according to academics, something common to most societies - as your Headteacher, I am given respect by people who don't know me. But I know that this respect will quickly drop away if I am disrespectful.
What about you? Another quality of respect is that it is earnt. If you want to be respected, you need to respect others first. Do you do that? Or do you expect to get respect first? You can expect respect, but if you have not been respectful to others, it is unlikely that you will get it.
Within Sandymoor, we have a number of students who hold positions of authority and as such should hold your respect. Our prefects carry out important tasks within school and do so with my authority. To be disrespectful to them is to be disrespectful to me. And if you are, then you will suffer the consequences.
However, the prefects are, conversely, also representing me when they are performing their duties and if they are disrespectful to other students, then that reflects on me and I will not tolerate that either.
We are a community. A family. And we share a set of common values. Respect for the individual, respect for the values of kindness and mutual support and respect for the desire to be the best you can be. When any member of the community breaks these values, they are being disrespectful to all of us and we need to hold them to account. But in a respectful, supportive way, in deference to their right, as an individual to be treated kindly. We can all fall short of these ideals, but if we are a supportive community, we have people around us who work with us and help us get back to being the best we can be.
So, how will you ensure that Sandymoor is known as a respectful place? How will you support the prefects in them carrying out their duties? How will you someone who is known to be worthy of respect?