As part of our academy culture, we want our children to have high ambitions about their education and encourage further and higher education opportunities. . Whilst not all our children will choose to go to university, our aim is to as many children as possible will have this option open to them at 18.
Practical ways that we establish this culture within the academy are as follows:
We regularly use phrases such the power of 'YET'.
We talk about going to university and what life is like at university as well as arranging at least one visit to a university campus per year linked with class names.
Our class names are linked to universities (all Russell Group Universities).
When talking about career choices we encourage children to ‘up-skill’ their career choice and talk about the degree that they might wish to study. For example if a child expresses a wish to be a bus driver ask them if they have considered being an airline pilot or working in the RAF or a vehicle designer.
We are proud to link with Barnsley College to give our Year 6 Children vocational experiences in outstanding learning environments, exploring different opportunities to broadening children's aspirations within education and their time beyond Meadstead.
But . . . . . . the most important thing is that the parents of our young people encourage them to 'dream big' and really believe that they can and will go to university. If you think it's all about being born with talent or intelligence, watch this short video which explains that success if largely about getting in lots of practice and the effort you put in.
The Meadstead Culture
In the academy we use the research of Carol Dweck to ensure that our children do as well as they can. Prof Dweck is a world-renowned psychologist who has undertaken work to show that children can become 'smarter' if we praise their effort rather than the outcome of their work. For example, if a child gets full marks in a maths test we would say "well done, you obviously put a lot of effort into learning your maths" rather than "wow, you are amazing at maths". We also talk regularly to our children about the importance of giving 100% effort. You can read more about the work of Carol Dweck here or watch the video below. We also teach children about the process of learning and that it is perfectly OK to sometimes feel confused, this is all part of the learning process. We teach children that they should be in 'the purple zone' when they are learning. Please ask your child to explain to you what that is (we hope they can!).
Finally, we talk with our children about having 'big dreams/ambitions' for their future. We all have to believe that each and every child can do better than we ever thought possible - we know that many children will prove us right if they put in enough effort. We are also particularly mindful of 'the pygmalion effect' which demonstrates that children perform better when higher expectations are placed upon them.
Academy assemblies are a key part of setting the culture of the academy. We have two main assemblies in the week. The first is the head teacher's assembly (Votes for School's) which takes place each Monday morning. This will be usually led by the head teacher but could be led by an external guest, local vicar or senior SLT. The topic will generally be linked to Bumble's value of the term, key question of the week and a link to a specific British Value. We also try to focus on any religious celebrations and how different religions celebrate them. The head teacher will usually set a challenge as part of the assembly (key weekly question) and staff are asked to encourage children to discuss this in their Friday 'Votes for School's' lesson. The weekly assembly will be posted on the academy website as soon as possible after the assembly. We would love it if parents would take a few minutes to discuss the topic of the week with their child.
The second assembly takes place on a Friday at 9.10am. The assembly will be led by the head or SLT and will include a celebration of 'Star of the Week' and 'Bumble's breakfast winer' (this is based on Bumble's value of the week). There is also other celebrations such as 'Readers of the Week' and Badge' winners. Teachers are asked to inform the Head/Miss Vincent/Miss Strutt the 'Star of the Week' by Thursday afternoon so invitations to attend the assembly can be sent out to parents/carers (invites will also be sent so parents can attend virtually).