My Golden Rules which are in some form or other in the majority of UK primary schools are a simple distillation of complex universal moral values. I pulled them together after working in the early 80s/90s with thousands of children and adults around what rules they wanted in their schools.
When studying all their “don’ts and do’s” that I realised they all fell naturally into six areas so children of all ages can access them.
My Golden Rules …
Respect For Physical Safety – We Are Gentle
Respect For Emotional Safety – We Are Kind
Respect For The Truth – We Are Honest
Respect For The Environment – We Look After Things
Respect For Others – We Listen
Respect For Self – We Work Hard
Later ‘Rights Respecting Schools’ became concerned that children should ‘own’ the rules themselves. I urge them to go ahead with this vision and get the children to debate and scribe their own rules – but then, using their words you can actually shuffle them under the six headings. So the children can see that we are all saying the same thing in different ways.
You cannot have lists of different rules in different places throughout the school. To embed values into ‘hot’, sometimes chaotic minds of lively children, they need to have values that are repeated, simple and backed up by corresponding images. These values should be up in every classroom, corridor, dining hall and playground.
Individual teachers often want to write up classroom etiquette with the children, such as ‘we put our things away’ ‘we put our hands up when we speak’, ‘we line up calmly’. Great – do it – but I call these ‘Class Routines’ and I help children and teachers draw a line from the routine to the Golden Rule that it belongs to. For example ‘we line up calmly’ – belongs to the Golden Rule ‘We Are Gentle’.
Only when the Golden Rules are embedded can children truly access the deeper more complex universal values such as tolerance, justice, compassion and fairness. There are many more.
Next year is the 800th year celebration of the Magna Carta. Yesterday I went to look at it again in Salisbury Cathedral. It’s a humbling, magnificent groundbreaking visionary document that makes you proud to be British. Those Barons were terrier like in their insistence on pushing through these values of freedom, justice and equality – we now are the behaviour barons and need to push through the values so all parents and children learn to love them too.
Magna Carta 1215
Clause 38 – in future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.
Clause 39 – no free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.
Website Manager’s Notes
1. Jenny Mosley runs successful and transformative positive behaviour for learning (including the Golden Rules and Golden Time), circle time and social skills, and lunchtimes and playtimes training –Click here to see all forthcoming public conferences that anyone can attend.
2. Jenny Mosley’s Golden Rules are used very successfully in numerous Early Years settings and schools in the UK and abroad. The Golden Rules are an important part of Jenny Mosley’s Golden Model for positive behaviour, improved social and emotional skills and for becoming a speaking and listening school.
3. Many schools book Jenny Mosley for a training day, conference or a Working In School Day. Without shutting the school, Jenny holds staff meetings, observable circle times with pupils, works in the dining hall and playgrounds and feeds back everything to staff via meetings. For enquiries about Working in School Days, please phone 01225 767157 or email email@example.com. (Many schools follow a WISD day with an INSET day so that they can fully work through the ideas with Jenny.)
4. Fabulous resources for the Golden Rules are available on our website www.circle-time.co.uk/shop
5. Training for using the Golden Rules, for positive behaviour management and incentives can be booked by phoning 01225 767157 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org