Case Study: Character Taught
Tintagel Primary School
The Tree of Being has been developed by Tintagel Primary School (and Delabole Primary School) to support the wellbeing and character development of all children,staff and parents.
The schools already had a culture of using trees as metaphors, enabling children to understand their learning and connection from 'me to everyone’, so having a principal tree to teach wellbeing and character development felt apt.
The Tree of Being works in conjunction with British values and the schools' knowledge- based Enquiry curriculum which is based on 12 core values for life and underpins their learning tool kit, instilling a commitment to virtues.
The Tree of Being materialised after the significant threat to children's self-efficacy was noticed, following the Covid-19 lockdown period. The schools wanted to empower the children and asked them to consider the aspects of themselves by which they felt most content and where they most needed support. They formed here a connection to Maslow's hierarchy of need and produced six core areas which would help support the children's wellbeing and character development.
These six core areas are reinforced by a differentiated key question. For example, the Seeds link to Self Worth and for EYFS/ KS1 the key question is: ‘Why am I special?' For KS2 the key question is: ‘What is my place in the world?'
At Tintagel, a whole school Tree of Being lives in the corridor alongside a Tree of Being in each classroom, matching the age group it supports. These are used as hooks when teachers discuss issues with children during lessons, assemblies and playtimes. Already the children use the language of the Tree of Being to express their awareness of self.
A child recently commented in class that their roots were 'missing vitality' since they hadn’t slept, and consequently 'their trunks were wobbly' because they couldn’t manage their thoughts and feelings.
As they had accepted and acknowledged this reality, staff could then use this information accordingly and support this pupil to flourish and be their best selves, despite little sleep. The child's comment also highlighted their awareness of the importance sleep plays in their life. This intrinsic appreciation for their own needs is vital.
Once we all become aware, accept and act on our own needs, we can then turn our attention outwards, towards the needs of others and our communities we serve.
Bude Primary Academy - Juniors
Bude Juniors' school curriculum explains what elements are offered outside the National Curriculum to ensure its pupils are confident independent learners and are well prepared for the next phase of their educational journey.
One such element is an initiative called UP (Unlocking Potential) which ensures that every child has the opportunity to take part in something they love, to be a leader if they wish, to discover new talents and interests and have a voice in the development of learning in the school. UP takes the form of whole school, whole class or group projects depending on the needs and interests of the school and pupils each year.
For example, staff enable pupils who show a love of computing/coding to access Cognition Learning after-school sessions and pupils who excel in PE take part in extra sporting competitions, in partnership with Budehaven Community School. Pupil-led support comes in the guise of the active School Council which is responsible for creating job descriptions and application forms so their peers can apply for a range of school responsibilities.
UP is supported by the school's equality and diversity team, going greener team and the well-being and nurture teams. This wider support network comprises teachers and/or TAs who are committed to continually identifying opportunities within school for pupils’ personal development.