1 June 2023

Nurturing responsibility and growth: our approach to challenges and consequences

Heads of SchoolMiddle School
Nurturing responsibility and growth: our approach to challenges and consequences
Nurturing responsibility and growth: our approach to challenges and consequences
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Carey Middle School is a vibrant place, but not without its flaws. Occasional mishaps, such as misplaced essays, computer malfunctions and scheduling mix-ups, do happen. Nevertheless, we have implemented two dependable strategies to tackle these challenges head-on. Our first approach centres around prioritising the core values of Care, Respect and Growth that define Carey Middle School. Additionally, we emphasise relational practices and consequences to foster a positive and accountable school environment.

Our commitment to relational practices fosters an environment where staff members genuinely strive to build positive relationships with students. We expect every teacher, mentor, Head of House and professional staff member to go above and beyond in creating a nurturing atmosphere of support and care. This collective responsibility is embodied in our motto, ‘Every Class, Everybody, Every Day’.

When issues arise or boundaries are crossed, we understand the importance of implementing appropriate consequences. Our approach always involves a restorative process that encourages students to actively repair and restore relationships. In some cases, agreements may need to be revisited and reset. It's worth noting that consequences are administered efficiently, fittingly and promptly, even though they may not follow conventional punitive methods.

In the Middle School, we have replaced ‘Detentions’ with ‘Education Sessions’. While these sessions still require students to give up their lunch or afterschool time, their purpose has shifted fundamentally. Now, the primary objective is to provide education, facilitate repair and restoration, and promote personal growth and learning from mistakes. Each ‘Education Session’ is tailored to address the specific behaviour or action that occurred. For example, if a student engages in vandalism, they may participate in the Keep Carey Beautiful Brigade for a week. If a student is rude to a guest speaker, they will be required to compose sincere apologies and prepare a presentation on the topic being presented. In every situation, there is an opportunity for growth and learning.

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Students rehearsing for Middle School House Music!
Students rehearsing for Middle School House Music!
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While this may sound idealistic, it's important to emphasise that we maintain a stringent framework for these learning consequences. A well-maintained uniform spreadsheet accessible to every teacher serves as an exemplary example of this structure. This interactive spreadsheet covers all Middle School students and every day of the term. Failure to comply with the uniform policy results in a tick recorded by the teacher. Accumulating two ticks leads to a lunchtime education session with a uniform-related task. Repeated infractions escalate the consequences to an afterschool session and a meeting with parents. This system has significantly improved uniform standards.

During lunchtime and afterschool sessions, students actively engage in reflections centred around the values of Care, Respect and Growth. These reflections are documented and recorded for future reference. Following this introspective exercise, students participate in customised learning tasks that address their behaviour. This may involve crafting thoughtful apologies or engaging in other activities. As a result of this learning, students often find opportunities to contribute to the community. In 2022, we conducted a total of 221 lunchtime and afterschool education sessions. As of June 2023, we have already completed 121 sessions. Additionally, we use internal suspensions as necessary, providing students with valuable opportunities to learn, restore, grow and make positive contributions while remaining within the school environment.

In addition to our focus on relational and restorative practices, we offer various opportunities for student growth and engagement. Notably, our CRASH program provides diverse and enriching experiences. We also encourage student involvement in community initiatives like the Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Keep Carey Beautiful Brigade. Homework and study clubs support academic development. These avenues empower our students to cultivate their skills, contribute to the School and the community, and become well-rounded individuals ready to make a positive impact in their future endeavours.

Harry Dendle
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Wellbeing

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