Last year we introduced our respect agenda. I have to admit I was slightly sceptical about another reward scheme and how this might be sustainable but I am happy to say my initial concerns have been allayed.
Respect tokens were introduced to the whole school last September as we returned from the summer holidays. At our first assembly we explained to the children that every adult in school would be carrying with them a number of respect tokens. These tokens would be given out to any children who showed respect. This, of course led to a great deal of work in classes about what respect is, what it looks like and how we show it. We made it a focus of PSHE in that first term and we used later assemblies to share class respect charters, leaflets and posters stating their intent and understanding of the respect agenda. My worry that such promotion would lead to children fighting to hold doors open and ask you how your day was going was only borne out for the first couple of days! After that things quickly settled down, but it was great to see so many children making a real effort to be respectful, polite and considerate. The tokens are collected up in each class and each half term the winners get a treat, an afternoon at the park has been the most popular reward so far, but it can be anything the children want and we can accommodate.
The children have a heightened sense of what respect means and for many the reward is now in the act itself. As with other initiatives it’s great to win and be cheered in assembly but the respect agenda further permeates school life. When we have visitors in school, we explain the system and give them a handful of tokens to put in their pockets. They quickly make use of them and the children enjoy the opportunity to impress guests! Such an approach keeps the profile high and helps ensure everyone understands how importantly the initiative is viewed. Assemblies and class time are regularly devoted to promoting respect and children understand how being respectful helps them individually, in their relationships and across the school as an organisation.
This September we will have another big push as we start the academic year . The agenda has seeped into the school fibre and it is great to hear people comment on the tangible impact this raised awareness of the importance of respect has had.