For well over 20 years now I have been working on and off with Kirkhill Primary School in Aberdeen, championed all the way by Lorraine and Shona. Wow, I have fought side by side with quite a range of schools throughout the years helping visionary principals like Lorraine, embed systems that create an ethos of safety and respect so that everyone can feel safe enough to take risks and therefore release their very best if they choose to… but probably I have never worked as closely with a school as challenging, exhausting, infuriatingly exciting and endlessly unpredictable as the Glorious, Wonderful Kirkhill Primary School.
There are times during my journey with them when I thought I was in Education Paradise. They put “Golden” into Golden Time (our behaviour reward for all children who choose to uphold the Golden Rules every day, weekly). Like few other schools Kirkhill’s clubs were truly fabulous. I remember watching boys and girls snaking away in their veils and jangly coins in the Golden Time Belly Dancing Club… in fact I still have that clip on my website here. At one time years ago their local shops put up the Golden Rules and parents, grandparents and shopkeepers took time off to come and celebrate with the children. I would walk around the school and everywhere – in every single space – there would be small circles of children and adults engaging in awe and wonder… some would be sitting back on bean bags in a darkened room with mugs of hot chocolate and spooky stories, some would be learning how to give beauty treatments to older people, some might be grooming the Golden Labrador, some creating plays to take out to the community, some engaging in art and craft you never have time for in the curriculum whilst outside you would hear the passionate shrieking for football or mini sports days. There were 100s of different ones over the years. But mainly… everywhere… through Golden Time and chats, the concentration and the laughter there was a quiet joy… a ceasefire of any hostilities… and kindness shone so strongly that every heart beat more fondly towards the others.
And then, and then… perhaps the best memory relates to the most spine-tinglingly experience when the Kirkhill children ran a parent’s evening. The Year 6 and 7 pupils gave presentations on what they felt was the key features that keep them safe and happy… The Golden Rules, Golden-Time, The School Council, Circle-Time, Peer Mediation… but the most wonderful part of the evening was when all the children ran small Circle-times for all the parents on their own with no adult help… after I gathered all the parents into one large circle which I facilitated and which was very moving. Parents, by now relaxed and feeling respected and safe asked for help with a range of issues ‘How do I get my child off to bed at nights?’ All the other parents put their thumbs forward and gave the magical sentence stem “Would it help if…”. Parents asked for help with children’s “temper tantrums”, “how to get children dressed and out in the morning”, everyone helped the person who was requesting the help – even the children. We became one big family listening and supporting each other… and in a way this is what Kirkhill Primary School has become – a big family with all the problems of families but held together with love and respect. Good luck to you Kirkhill, with Shona now holding the Golden Torch, and the wonderful staff you have walking shoulder to shoulder with you all – once lit by Lorraine she is now there with you in spirit and soul and any practical things she can do to help. What a family you are.
Website Manager’s Notes
- Much of this work was carried out through Jenny Mosley’s INSET training days, or Working In School Days
- Click to see Jenny’s open training conferences which are held throughout the year.
- Jenny excels as an educational presenter at schools conferences, LA conferences and Headteacher conferences.
- Jenny’s special areas of expertise include training for positive behaviour for learning, training for midday supervisors and lunchtime supervisors for calm dining halls and healthy, active playgrounds, also training for promoting social and communication skills for learning and training for mental health and wellbeing.
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- You can read some relatively articles here in Headteacher Update and the TES.