What makes Edenside a special place to learn?
What’s our purpose?
The purpose of schooling, of education, has been set out very clearly in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 29 states: “Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures. It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.”
The Scottish Curriculum for Excellence sets out the ultimate purpose of Scottish education to be equipping learners with the ‘4 capacities’:
- Successful Learners – equipped with the knowledge, understanding and skills to enable them to thrive with us and then at High School;
- Confident Individuals – with high levels of self-esteem and self-worth, motivated to learn and assured to enough to question ‘why’;
- Effective Contributors – with the skills to work collegiately and collectively with others and to recognise the power of their ‘voice’;
- Responsible Citizens – with an understanding of their responsibility to care for and improve the space that they live in.
These 4 capacities sit alongside the ‘wellbeing Indicators’ which support children and young people to grow up feeling loved, safe and respected and so realise their full potential. At home, in school or the wider community, every child and young person should be safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, included.
What does that look like in Edenside?
Our school vision, “be the best you can be”, is simple and it guides everything about our school. We aspire to excellence in our actions and our attitudes and this aspiration is underpinned by our core values: learning, laughter and love.
Education is about life chances, about providing knowledge, understanding and skills to succeed. We are incredibly fortunate in Scotland to have an education system that is free and high quality. Our families are lucky to be schooled at Edenside because they are getting a good education. In and out of the classrooms, our pupils, staff and parents are given opportunities to flourish and grow as individuals. We value learning.
When you walk around our school and playground, you see children enjoying their learning and their play. They enjoy being here with their friends and with the adults that support them. You will also see the adults smiling. Our staff enjoy coming to work here – it is a good place to work. We value laughter.
At times, there have been and will always be issues and concerns that dampen our spirits or challenge our thinking. There are events in our personal lives that make school life seem unimportant. When these things happen, you will see compassion and care as pupils show patience towards a peer, as staff go the extra mile to get it right for a child or as the team rallies to look after a colleague. We value love.
So what does this mean?
As a community (pupils, staff, parents, visitors) we all want the best for our children – we want them to be their best. Learning, laughter and love are central to achieving this vision. Our school aims are equally clear and visible: to provide high quality teaching and learning; to celebrate children’s achievement in our school and community; to be a nurturing school. These three statements define what we want for our pupils (and for ourselves).
But a vision, core values and intended aims only go so far. We also need greater clarity about that that ‘looks like’ around our school and in our classrooms. We need visible consistency from everyone, all the time and our 3 ‘responsibilities’ support this; we are all, always ‘Ready, Respectful and Safe’. These three words capture every action and attitude that we expect to see in our school. To be ready means to be organised, to be tidy and to be prepared for learning. To be respectful means to speak kindly, to listen attentively and to show empathy. To be safe means to play gently, to walk considerately and to consider others. Every desired action and attitude is captured in these words.
But even with these expectations made explicit, we also need to clarify what we want our children to learn, to clarify what our curriculum will achieve. Education Scotland calls this a ‘curriculum rationale’. To this end, we have adopted ‘The 5 Cs’ that we believe help guide our decisions about what the Edenside curriculum could and should look like. The 5 Cs are: coherence, compassion, creativity, culture and credibility. When deciding on learning opportunities, programmes of work or extra-curricular activities, we can use these five principles to guide our decisions. Does the learning fit with other learning? Does the learning foster care and wellbeing? Does the learning allow for imagination and investigation? Does the learning develop cultural awareness? Is the learning rich in content and substance?
How does this help?
For any organisation to be successful, it is really important to be clear about its purpose and mission – such clarity provides a ‘compass’ for moving forward. By clarifying what it means to ‘be Edenside’, we are enabling ourselves to be successful, to achieve what we set out to achieve – to be the best we can be.