Heads of Houses Reflect on Vertical Character Development Time


Matthew O'Kelly
Heads of Houses Reflect on Vertical...

So as we come to the end of the 2 weeks of vertical tutoring each student has had the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities during their Character Development Time. Being able to share ideas and develop student leadership has been a major part of these two weeks and I am so pleased to be able to say that students have engaged so positively with the process and made some lasting bonds with other years within their House.

Each Head of House has written a short piece on the sessions that students have taken part in over the 2 weeks. Hopefully going forward we can add more vertical tutoring to the students Character Development Time and continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship and culture of sharing.

Mr Symeou, Head of Oak House writes:

The Social media themed activity allowed students the opportunity to discuss the way that they interact with other students online. The students shared experiences and the different ways in which they use social media. Our students had strong opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of using social media.

The students were also able to find out how the use of social media changes across different year groups. During these discussions & activities the students were able to share their thoughts and experiences on sensitive topics such as cyber bullying. Our older students were able to use their position as role models to advise KS3 on how to stay safe and be kind online.

As social media is such a key aspect of young people’s lives, this session provided a unique opportunity for detailed discussion and reflection. Students benefited from hearing each other’s experiences and demonstrated their aspirations to be more thoughtful and kind when online.

Mr Lester Head of Beech House writes:

Since 2017, there has been a concerted effort at Bushey Meads School to have a mind to be kind and celebrate Acts of Kindness. We all know the benefits of doing good turns for one another: they can improve confidence, happiness and optimism. You’d agree that we could all have a little more of that in our lives.

And so, as part of this vertical experience, students were first of all, asked to consider what kindness might look like and what it do. They were then encouraged to record Acts of Kindness that they had witnessed. A specially designed card had been produced for this purpose, and it enabled learners to nominate a peer for a special draw. Winners will be announced later this half-term.

Miss Buck, Head or Maple House writes:

The Positive Relationships activity this week provided students with unique opportunities to uncover the qualities which seem to be universally important in the forging of successful and meaningful relationships all over the world. It then charged them to consider their own personal values and identity, and to question what it is that is important to them as an individual. This was an important activity for students as it allowed them to vocalise not only what is important for them to receive, but also what it is important for them to give to those around them. The students had valuable opportunities to hear from various members of the group across the Key Stages and discuss how they could demonstrate these important qualities as they grow and develop year on year.Students were then asked to consider their relationship with themselves, a concept which often isn’t the first to spring to mind when we think of the word ‘relationships’. Students discussed why they thought this was and debated whether a positive relationship with yourself stems from positive relationships with others, or whether your relationships with others is entirely dependent of the relationship you hold with yourself. The key question that came up – how can you love others if you do not love yourself first?  

Throughout this week it was a joy to see positive relationships flourish amongst the Vertical Tutoring groups and see friendships being forged, and individuals flourishing. It was wonderful also to see that BMS and the culture of acceptance and kindness we have in our community allows students to feel safe, secure and successful.

Mr Piper, Head of Sycamore House writes:

The Pathways activity provided students with unique opportunities to share and discover experiences available to them at Bushey Meads School. Students were placed into mixed groups, where they found themselves discussing shared interests and hobbies- it was great to see the older students developing their leadership skills by initiating the conversations. Students spoke of experiences they have had at Bushey Meads thus far, which ranged from subject choices at GCSE & A-Level, to the Ski Trip, to successes in representing the school in both team and individual sports! Students recorded their unique and individual experiences on large A3 paper which provided a great insight into the lives of our students in school!

The final part of the ‘Pathways’ session involved students thinking and discussing where they would like to be in five years time. Many of the older students said that they would like to be finishing university or beginning to undergo a masters degree. Whereas the younger students’ answers were geared towards the successful completion of their GCSE’s. Throughout this activity it was evident to see that all of our students, no matter what year group they are in, have great aspirations for themselves. Moreover, it was clear to see that BMS is a place where students can experience a vast array of activities and subjects which will give them every opportunity to work towards their goals.

Mr Tenga, Head of Ash House writes:

The students are used to having assemblies in the mornings but there is usually a different feeling when the house assemblies are happening. This may be because it’s an opportunity for them to be in a different crowd. For the students of Ash House their assembly was extra special because they had a member of the support staff delivering the assembly and that’s me. I had to prepare a presentation on the topic of “Positive Relationships” and I saw this as an opportunity to broaden their horizons. When they hear the word “relationship” they automatically start to picture a couple but I think they needed to be reminded that it is an umbrella term that is used for different interactions that can be had with parents, classmates or teachers. The purpose of the assemblies are to give the students motivation and drive before they start the day and I can tell that these set of assemblies have impacted the students because there has been a good response from them.

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