It is always a pleasure to go in to lots of different schools as I do and to experience amazing practice and to discuss where there is room for improvement and suggest new or altered ways. And working with staff and pupils from the schools in Tolworth has been an absolute pleasure. With dedicated, hard-working and talented staff teams, and creative and strong leadership to match, this was always going to be ‘one to watch’!
(The ‘then’ Infant School and Junior School have since merged into a federated Nursery, Infant and Junior School.)
At Tolworth, not only are there initiatives and exemplary practices within school, the enthusiasm has spread right out to the parents and other members of the school community too.
I had been working with the Tolworth Schools for about 6 years before their challenging merger into a federated Nursery, Infant and Junior school. With a combination of Working In School Day consultancy, INSET training and parent workshops, all areas of the Golden Model have been introduced or refreshed and then worked on in a creative way by the school. Tolworth School works as an effective team to ensure that everyone uses the same systems so that children have the stability and experience of great continuity during their journey through the school.
Here is a little about the special Tolworth systems. Special and grateful thanks to Deputy Headteacher Anita Maynard, who initially attended my in-depth residential Train the Trainers course in Wiltshire. Her enthusiasm and dedication have meant there has always been a ‘key’ teacher in the school dedicated to taking the ecosystemic Whole School Quality Circle Time model (otherwise known as the Golden Model) forward. Consequently Anita would set up a series of meetings with agreed Golden Teams dedicated either to ‘Setting up Listening Systems’, “Embedding Golden Rules – Rewards and Consequences’, ‘Powerfully Positive Lunchtimes and Playtimes’.
Huge thanks must, of course, go to Rachel Nye the Headteacher – strong leadership is the key to success in all schools. Rachel not only has vision and a deep respect for children – but she has courage. She takes risks and tries out new ideas but always reviews them with her staff. I don’t know if she realises but she truly follows Ghandi’s guiding philosophy ‘Be The Change You Want To See’.
The following notes about the Golden System have been created by Olivia Penfold who volunteered to be in a working party within the Golden Team. Olivia is a young and very enthusiastic teacher who has since left to inspire new schools to ‘Get Golden’!
Golden Rules and Golden Time
The six Golden Rules are used throughout the school alongside Golden Time.
In Nursery the children have a sand timer with a ‘sad’ cloud and if a child breaks a Golden Rule more than once (i.e. after a warning), then it is suggested that they have some ‘time out’ and the timer is used to enable to child to see how long they have to sit out for.
In Reception the children start to use the full Sun and cloud system and this is then used all the way through to Year six. We have images of a sun, sun & cloud and a cloud displayed in our classrooms, with the images slightly different for the older children. Each child has a peg with their photo and name on. The side with the photo on is painted yellow and the other side is grey.
All of the children begin the day on the sun with their photo showing. If a child breaks one of the Golden rules, they are given a reminder either verbally or with a ‘look’ that they need to keep the rule. We try to keep it as positive as possible, so for example we might say “I hope you are going to stop and listen”. If they break the rule again, their peg is moved to the sun and cloud, and the grey side with their name on, is displayed. If they make the right choices their peg is put back on the sun, with the yellow side and photo showing. If they continue to break the rule, their peg is moved to the sad cloud. When this occurs their name is recorded in a book and the child will then miss a few minutes of their Golden Time. The number of minutes depends on the age of the child. We also pass up our Golden time books to the next teacher, so that we can monitor if there are any children that are continuously missing Golden time. If this is the case another system may need to be used for that child, as they are probably ‘beyond’ the Golden Rules system.
We have Golden Time on a Friday and all of the children who have kept the Golden rules all week and their peg has not been moved to the cloud, will have all of their Golden Time. We constantly remind the children that the reason we have Golden Time, is to reward them for keeping the Golden rules. In Reception the children are able to go into any classroom for their Golden Time and they use our special ‘Golden Time only’ resources, to make sure that it is very different than their learning time. In Key stage one, the children choose six Golden time activities at the beginning of the week and these are displayed on Golden board in our classrooms. These activities can be things they already have in their classrooms or things from the ‘Golden Time resources’. The children also have a photo of themselves on the board, which they put next the activity they are most looking forward to doing on Friday. In the Junior School they have ‘Golden Time clubs’ and at the beginning of the week, the children choose the club that they would like to attend in Golden Time. The children are asked to choose their top three clubs and the staff make sure, that each child is given one of their top three choices. Years three and four are mixed, as are Years five and six.
Extra Incentives – The Jar of Good Choices
In the Nursery the children are awarded marbles when they make a choice to keep the Golden rules. When the marble jar is full they play a 5 minute game, this is their Golden Time.
Every class in the Infants and Juniors has a jar labelled ‘Catch me being Golden’ and a pot of marbles and. Every time a child, group of children or the class keeps a Golden rule, they are rewarded by putting a marble in the jar. When the jar is full the class receive a 5 minute ‘Golden Treat’. At the beginning of the year we aim to fill the jar each day but as the year goes on, the jar is usually filled twice a week. At the beginning of the year the class chooses some games that they would like to play as their ‘Golden treat’. These games are displayed with the Golden rules and can be changed every half term or every few weeks depending on the class. Some of the games the children like to play are, ‘Silly sausages’, ‘Wink murder’, ‘Musical statues’, ‘Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?’, ‘I spy’ and ‘Fish and chips’. These games are not played at any other time, to ensure they are kept at special ‘Golden Treat’ only games.
All members of staff are able to reward the children with a marble. During break times and lunchtimes, we use a Golden ticket system. When an adult (in the canteen or playground) notices a child keeping the Golden rules, they can give them a ‘Golden ticket’ with their name and class on the back. The children have to try hard to look after their ticket and have it ready to show their teacher and class after break. We were worried about this at first as we thought the children would loose their tickets, but in fact, they are so proud of them they really do keep them safe! They are so excited to show their teacher and class when break time has finished. When the children come back into class, they show their ‘Golden ticket’ and explain to the class why they were given it. The child then puts a marble in the jar and their ticket in a special box in the classroom. All of the ‘Golden tickets’ are collected and put into a tombola on Friday. In our celebration assembly our Head teacher, chooses a ticket from the tombola and the child that is picked wins a special treat for their class. The treats include, extra playtime or extra time on the adventure playground.
Another incentive some classes start to use later on in the year, are extra Golden Treats. We set the class a target of how many times to fill the marble jar and then when they have reached their target their get to have an extra special treat. Some examples of these treats are; DVD and popcorn, teddy bears picnic, extra time on the adventure playground, free use of chosen PE equipment, making and/ or decorating biscuits and parachute games. As you can imagine the children love this and try really hard to fill the jar!
We have ‘Stars of the week’ that are chose because they have tried hard to keep one or all of the Golden Rules throughout the week. These children are chosen by the teacher and/ or the other children in the class. The ‘Stars of the week’ have their photos stuck on a special Golden star and they stay their all week. They are given special cushions to sit on throughout the week and special jobs to do (these are chosen by the children in each class at the beginning of the year) for example, collecting in/ giving out resources and setting up Golden Time activities.
At lunchtime both the Infant and Junior playgrounds are buzzing with excitement and happy children! In the Infants the children have the choice of many different activities and types equipment, such as, skipping ropes, hula hoops, beanbags, colouring, relaxing and reading books, dressing up, dancing to music, construction and the list goes on! We have lots of members of staff that help the children and teach them how to play together.
In the Junior school, the playground is divided into ‘zones’ and each zone is managed by an adult. They also have ‘Challenges’ in the zones which the children absolutely love! If they achieve the challenge they are awarded a special certificate. They are now going to introduce this achievement, as something they can use to work towards a special ‘Deputy Head teacher award’ that is already in place.
We have worked really hard as team for the last few years to get all of these systems in place and to make sure they are being used consistently throughout the school. It has definitely been worth it, as we have all seen a huge improvement in the children’s behaviour and our children absolutely love school J!!
One teacher reported that parents she had spoken to were providing a continuum of expectation and celebration at home by using some of the same incentives as those used in school. Parents were using incentives such as ‘jar of good choices’ and ‘star of the week’ and even ‘weekend golden time’ at home where they could choose from art clubs and film clubs as a treat for behaving well or for following their house ‘Golden Rules’.
Tolworth School was awarded Jenny Mosley’s Golden Award in June 2014. On behalf of myself and the team, I would like to congratulate the Tolworth Team on their outstanding achievements!
A Message from the Headteacher
“Thank you for our award, it is so very special for us and our journey with the two schools. You have been a shining light when things are getting a bit tough! I am looking forward to the next part of our journey.
Best wishes, Rachel”