A parent contacted us and shared her thoughts on what ICON means to her and her daughter too:
From a parent’s perspective the No Outsiders philosophy of the school means I have a child who openly acknowledges that everyone is different and yet accepts that it’s okay and that we all have something to give and that being different actually makes the world a better and richer place. From a professional perspective working with young adults I can see the practical impact of this on the future of all children within BJS, as they will undoubtedly encounter a breadth of people in their lives and will no doubt embrace them because of learning these values at such an early age.
The school is always proactive in identifying specific learning support and focussing on individual needs of every child. I have not experienced this directly as a parent, but I have a number of friends within the school who have had amazing support and guidance from the dedicated team at BJS. This has ranged from additional help being provided for spelling and maths work through to children who suffer from serious anxiety and have needed coaxing and encouraging. For this latter area the children concerned have received support from a broad cross section of members of staff including the head teacher, home school support worker, the deputy head and their own classroom teachers and LSAs. The impact on these children has been incredible to see, and shows that everyone is given a chance to be the best that they can be
I have seen a wide variety of evidence that the school promotes a peaceful and caring environment, My daughter will often come home and talk about the key values she has learned about in assembly, for example trust, respect, humility and compassion. When I asked my little girl what they mean she is quite able to describe what they mean, but more importantly she can give examples of how these apply to make the school environment a calm and happy place, but also how it will help her when she is with others outside school.
There are many playtime options at school, which satisfy the varying needs of the children in the school, and enables children to have both quiet and active places to enjoy her breaktimes and lunchtimes. For quiet places she is able to draw and make things in the quiet room three days a week. She is also able to read in the Nook if she would like to. When playing outside she the ABC are there if she has a problem and also every lunchtime the playleaders run two activities, all facilitating the children’s ability to play in harmony together
The children at BJS are inspired to be ambitious for their future which means that this can give them additional focus and responsibility for the behaviour both inside and outside the classroom. This gives them ownership for their own actions and enables them to reflect on the impact that their own behaviour can have on their future and others. This approach has motivated a number of children in my child’s class to be calmer and more considerate within the learning environment and also to be more engaged in their surroundings and the topics they are learning about.
The TaRs Initiative introduced in September has had a dramatic impact on the number of disagreements that my child has seen in the playground. She has witnessed some friendship issues within her peer group and has actually worked with a friend using the super seven questions to help to resolve the problems. This is an amazing life skill for a ten year old to have there can be conflict in many walks of life and having the TaR super seven within her tool kit will be a tremendous help, both now and in the future.
At such a young age children can often struggle with interpersonal skills and understand the impact of their behaviour on others. My little girl had some friendship issues when she started with the school and despite lots of strategies and support at home, she really struggled within the school environment, and at one point was quite reluctant and upset about going to school. The Home school support worker provided amazing support and encouragement for her at this time and worked with my daughter and her group to help them to resolve issues and to create some positive playtime strategies, within a week of this support my child’s attitude and behaviour completely changed and her ability to cope with this situation has been incredible, this is as a direct result of such amazing support.
We are proud to be know as an International Cross of Nails School. We went through a rigorous application process which involved lots of support and challenge from Jennifer Jenkins whose lead role at Coventry Cathedral is leading on the ICON schools initiative.
We are looking forward to doing more work on the three strands of Diversity, Peace and reconciliation. Please have a look at our application document and if you ahve any ideas about next steps for us please let us know. I am, eager to make links with other ICON schools and establishments.
Many Blessings, Mrs Norton