It is a privilege and a joy to be Headteacher of Broomfield House School, yet what I love best and find most fulfilling about my job is getting to know our children and helping them to develop. For me, good manners and behaviour are amongst the most important skills they will learn here and are, I believe, key to a contented school and critical to future success. These are the lessons I particularly like to instil in the children and to achieve this I try to be what I call a ‘Hands-on-Head’.
A friendly welcome is so important and I start each morning at the school gate, greeting the pupils as they come into school. Good manners matter enormously and this is a good way to encourage the children to be friendly, polite, and to make eye contact. Increasingly, children are spending more and more time looking at screens and so I believe it is essential they start their school day with this simple but important human contact. Knowing them as I do, I can see instantly how they are feeling and speak with them further as needed. And, I confess, as a stickler for smart dress, this is a good opportunity for me to check on uniforms!
After registration, I like to make my rounds. I go into all the classes, from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 6, to wish them a happy day of learning. I listen to their news, congratulate them on their successes and encourage those with worries. I also venture into all classes once a week to read with them or, with the older years, to introduce topics for a lively debate. I love this opportunity to interact with the children and have been lucky enough to read about giants, hungry caterpillars, talking spiders, a flat boy called Stanley and a lion who rules a secret land found at the back of a wardrobe! This regular contact gives me an opportunity to gently repeat our standards and expectations if reminders are ever needed.
One of my favourite parts of the day is lunchtime. How children conduct themselves in a social setting is an important lesson and, to help with this, I make sure I am on duty in the dining hall every day. I encourage the children sit correctly, use their cutlery properly, do not speak with a mouth full of food and not to put elbows on the table. At all times, I want them to consider the people around them so that good etiquette is maintained throughout lunch.
This hands-on approach to making sure our standards are maintained, or even lifted, is supported through a Best in Broomfield Award, announced in my Friday assemblies. Presented to the class that has consistently worn smart and correct uniform and said please, thank you and good morning, with lots of eye contact! As a parent, I know how hard it is to maintain high standards but with reminders and rewards the effort pays off. I believe in setting high standards at Broomfield, which will stand our children in good stead in the future. Helping children become ready for the world outside is why I will continue to be a Hand-on-Head!
Mrs Susie Byers