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Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

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Learning Matters!

A message from Mr Clutterbuck, Headteacher

I have already written about our focus on Deer Park’s mission (to be the best we can be every day) and our aims (for pupils to be safe, happy and successful) - see Vision and Aims - and how these will feed into our new school values which are intended to supersede the school standards. Having shared these principles with our local governing body, I will be sharing the new school values with our school community during week commencing Monday 10 September 2022.

I have spoken about the importance of culture and the role that each of us play in modelling this to the pupils and how we can encourage pupils to model and demonstrate this to one another. See How We Talk at Deer Park School. Teaching pupils these behaviours as part of a curriculum, as we do with our subjects, is a crucial part of the job of teachers and those in pupil-facing roles. However, as with anything which involves young people in large communities, we do need safety nets and lines in the sand. Behaviour is a very positive feature of Cirencester Deer Park School and we have been working with pupils and staff to ensure it is either maintained or improved.

Why, you may ask, if I am saying it is a very positive feature, have I made changes to how we implement our Behaviour for Learning policy? Well, with any aspect of school development, there is always scope to improve things further. And this brings me to the title of this piece: Learning Matters!

When I met with pupils and staff in the first two weeks of the school year, early in September 2022, I impressed on them that we are duty-bound to look for ways to make things better, because if we let things stand still, they may stagnate. That’s not to say that everything should be tinkered with. On the contrary I have been very clear that I see part of my role as looking for evolution rather than revolution because Deer Park is a great school.

Nevertheless, one aspect of the behaviour system which I want to ensure happens consistently across the school is disruption-free learning. Not because we have high levels of disruption, on the contrary, the school is calm and orderly, but for the simple reason that it is not fair on any pupil who wants to learn or teacher who wants to teach, to have learning disrupted. Learning Matters!

Parents may have heard the acronym SLR, which stands for 'Supervised Learning and Reflection' and is a room in school staffed by our Extended Leadership Team. The SLR is part of a wider strategy to ensure disruption-free learning in the classroom. So far, the strategy is working well; the few lessons which may have been disrupted previously are much reduced, pupils who have been in the SLR room have (in most cases) willingly accepted responsibility for their actions and have manged to keep up-to-date with the lessons they miss while in the room. And for a very small number of pupils who have visited the room 3 times, we have formalised support to help them manage their behaviour.

This aspect of the new behaviour strategy is key, as it is allowing us to help pupils who find aspects of our behaviour expectations difficult. We have been able to create bespoke plans for the pupils, putting in support ranging from identifying undiagnosed educational needs, to Thrive and Trauma informed responses, to getting alongside the pupils and helping them practise behaviour techniques in the classroom with an adult champion alongside them.

The SLR room and the behind-the-scenes support are part of a wider strategy to ensure that pupils are safe, happy and successful. As we move forwards I will be sharing with the school, our plans for rewards, so we can celebrate the success of our pupils personally and publicly.